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Top-down and bottom-up attentional biases for smoking-related stimuli: comparing dependent and non-dependent smokers.

Wilcockson, T., Pothos, E. M. ORCID: 0000-0003-1919-387X, Osborne, A. & Crawford, T. (2021). Top-down and bottom-up attentional biases for smoking-related stimuli: comparing dependent and non-dependent smokers.. Addictive Behaviors, 118, article number 106886. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2021.106886


Introduction: Substance use causes attentional biases for substance-related stimuli. Both bottom-up (preferential processing) and top-down (inhibitory control) processes are involved in attentional biases. We explored these aspects of attentional bias by using dependent and non-dependent cigarette smokers in order to see whether these two groups would differ in terms of general inhibitory control, bottom-up attentional bias, and top-down attentional biases. This enables us to see whether consumption behaviour would affect these cognitive responses to smoking-related stimuli. Methods: Smokers were categorised as either dependent (N=26) or non-dependent (N=34) smokers. A further group of non-smokers (N=32) were recruited to act as controls. Participants then completed a behavioural inhibition task with general stimuli, a smoking-related eye tracking version of the dot-probe task, and an eye-tracking inhibition task with smoking-related stimuli. Results: Results indicated that dependent smokers had decreased inhibition and increased attentional bias for smoking-related stimuli (and not control stimuli). By contrast, a decreased inhibition for smoking-related stimuli (in comparison to control stimuli) was not observed for non-dependent smokers. Conclusions: Preferential processing of substance-related stimuli may indicate usage of a substance, whereas poor inhibitory control for substance-related stimuli may only emerge if dependence develops. The results suggest that how people engage with substance abuse is important for top-down attentional biases.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2021. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Publisher Keywords: attentional bias; incentive salience; automaticity; smoking; inhibition; current concerns
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
SWORD Depositor:
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Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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