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Monday, February 6, 2012

Beer à No-Go: Learning to stop responding to alcohol cues reduces alcohol intake via reduced affective associations rather than increased response inh

Previous research showed that consistently not responding to alcohol-related stimuli in a Go/No-Go training reduces drinking behavior. This study aimed to further examine the mechanisms underlying this Go/No-Go training effect.

Fifty-seven heavy drinkers were randomly assigned to two training conditions: In the beer/no-go condition, alcohol-related stimuli were always paired with a stopping response, while in the beer/go condition, participants always responded to alcohol-related stimuli. Participants were individually tested in a laboratory at Maastricht University.

Weekly alcohol intake, implicit attitudes toward beer, approach-avoidance action tendencies toward beer, and response inhibition were measured before and after the training.

Results showed a significant reduction in both implicit attitudes (p= .03) and alcohol intake (p= .02) in the beer/no-go condition, but not in the beer/go condition. There were no significant training effects on action tendencies or response inhibition.

Repeatedly stopping prepotent responses toward alcohol-related stimuli effectively reduces excessive alcohol use via a devaluation of alcohol-related stimuli rather than via increased inhibitory control over alcohol-related responses.

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