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Monday, October 17, 2011

The effect of restraint beliefs on alcohol-seeking behavior.

Individuals who believe that they have high levels of restraint over motivated behaviors such as cigarette smoking are, paradoxically, more likely to engage in those behaviors when tempted (Nordgren, Van Harreveld, & Van Der Pligt, 2009).

Our aim was to experimentally manipulate heavy drinkers' beliefs about their drinking restraint to examine the effect on drinking behavior.

Sixty heavy drinkers completed an implicit association test and a stop-signal task before receiving bogus feedback on their task performance that indicated that they had either high or low levels of drinking restraint. Participants then completed a bogus taste test in which they were able to consume beer and a soft drink.

Results indicated that the group falsely led to believe that they had a high level of drinking restraint subsequently consumed more beer than the group led to believe that they had a low level of drinking restraint.

This study demonstrates that beliefs about drinking restraint can influence drinking behavior, in that individuals who overestimate their control over drinking are at greater risk of drinking to excess when exposed to tempting situations.

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