The effect of beliefs about alcohol’s acute effects on alcohol priming and alcohol-induced impairments of inhibitory control

GRAEME KNIBB, Carl Roberts, Eric Robinson, Abi Rose, Paul Christiansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Acute alcohol administration can lead to a loss of control over drinking. Several models argue that this 'alcohol priming effect' is mediated by the effect of alcohol on inhibitory control. Alternatively, beliefs about how alcohol affects behavioural regulation may also underlie alcohol priming and alcohol-induced inhibitory impairments. Here two studies examine the extent to which the alcohol priming effect and inhibitory impairments are moderated by beliefs regarding the effects of alcohol on the ability to control behaviour. In study 1, following a priming drink (placebo or .5g/kg of alcohol), participants were provided with bogus feedback regarding their performance on a measure of inhibitory control (stop-signal task; SST) suggesting that they had high or average self-control. However, the bogus feedback manipulation was not successful. In study 2, before a SST, participants were exposed to a neutral or experimental message suggesting acute doses of alcohol reduce the urge to drink and consumed a priming drink and this manipulation was successful. In both studies craving was assessed throughout and a bogus taste test which measured ad libitum drinking was completed. Results suggest no effect of beliefs on craving or ad lib consumption within either study. However, within study 2, participants exposed to the experimental message displayed evidence of alcohol-induced impairments of inhibitory control, while those exposed to the neutral message did not. These findings do not suggest beliefs about the effects of alcohol moderate the alcohol priming effect but do suggest beliefs may, in part, underlie the effect of alcohol on inhibitory control.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume13
Issue number7
Early online date26 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • Alcohol

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