Bibi ergo sum: the effects of a placebo and contextual alcohol cues on motivation to drink alcohol

Paul Christiansen*, Gareth Townsend, GRAEME KNIBB, Matt Field

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Rationale Acute ‘priming’ doses of alcohol reliably increase alcohol-seeking behaviour in social drinkers. However, the effects of the anticipated (rather than pharmacological) effects of alcohol, and their interaction with contextual alcohol cues, are not well understood.
Objectives This study aims to determine the extent to which an alcohol-placebo drink increases craving, subjective intoxication and beer consumption, while conjointly investigating the impact of contextual alcohol cues.
Methods On a within-subject basis, 64 undergraduate social drinkers consumed both a placebo (which they believed to contain alcohol) and a control drink (which they knew did not contain alcohol) in different sessions. Participants completed the study procedures in a bar laboratory designed to look like a ‘pub’ or a standard psychology lab containing no alcohol-related cues. Craving (Desires for Alcohol Questionnaire) and subjective intoxication were measured
pre- and post-drink, and a bogus taste test to measure ad-lib alcohol consumption was completed at the end of each session.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)827-835
Number of pages9
JournalPsychopharmacology
Volume234
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2017

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