Attentional capture by alcohol-related stimuli may be activated involuntarily by top-down search goals

Brown, Chris ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4960-5564, Duka, Theodora and Forster, Sophie (2018) Attentional capture by alcohol-related stimuli may be activated involuntarily by top-down search goals. Psychopharmacology, 235 (7). pp. 2087-2099. ISSN 0033-3158

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Abstract

Background: Conventionally, involuntary attentional capture by tobacco cues in smokers are seen as an implicit bias, operating independently of current search goals. Prominent attention research, however, has suggested that search goals can actually induce an involuntary attentional capture. In the current investigation, we tested whether appetitive and aversive smoking images affected attention through such a mechanism, and whether there were group differences based on nicotine dependence.
Methods: We instructed non-smokers (NS), occasional smokers (OS; low dependence), and nicotine dependent smokers (NDS; moderate-high dependence), to hold search goals for either an aversive or appetitive smoking category, or a category of non-smoking images. These images were presented in a stream of briefly appearing filler images, whilst task-irrelevant distractors were presented outside the stream. Distractors could be aversive or appetitive smoking images, or a category of non-smoking images. Therefore, in some conditions, the distractors matched the current category being searched for, whilst in others it was incongruent.
Results: Task-irrelevant smoking distractors reduced target detection, compared to the non-smoking distractors, only when they were congruent with the specific category being searched for. There was no effect of either aversive or appetitive smoking distractors on performance when participants were searching for the non-smoking targets. Distractor interference did not differ between smokers and non-smokers.
Conclusions: The results support a goal-driven mechanism underpinning involuntary attentional capture by smoking cues. These findings can be used to inform models of addiction and attention, and the display of health warnings.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Psychology
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Chris Brown
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2019 13:27
Last Modified: 24 Jan 2019 16:08
URI: http://repository.uwl.ac.uk/id/eprint/5767

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