Alcohol preferences and event-related potential indices of cue reactivity to alcohol images
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Previous research on attentional biases to alcohol images has used heterogenous sets of stimuli (e.g. a beer can in isolation, a group of people drinking, etc.). However, beverage preference plays an important part in determining an individual's alcohol use pattern and thus might be expected to influence attentional biases. The purpose of this study was to determine if beverage preferences affect event-related potential (ERP) indices of cue reactivity to different types of alcohol images (e.g. beer, wine, and liquor) in binge drinkers (BDs). The secondary purpose was to examine the possibility of gender differences in cue reactivity. Fourteen BDs (7 male, 7 female) completed a modified Go/No-Go task using preferred and non-preferred alcohol-related stimuli, and nonalcoholic beverages as control stimuli. It was predicted that reactivity preferred beverages would be enhanced, manifested as higher N2 and P3 ERP amplitudes relative to non-preferred. Male BDs were predicted to have impaired response inhibition and higher reactivity to preferred images than female BDs. Larger N2, but not P3, amplitudes to preferred alcohol-related stimuli were observed, indicative of increased attentional capture. Female BDs produced larger No-Go P3 amplitudes in response to alcohol-related stimuli, indicating they had greater response inhibition than males to these stimuli. These findings suggest that beverage preference is a factor in the attentional bias of BDs. The results provide new information which could prove beneficial in preventing and treating alcohol use disorders (AUD).