Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Mark Goldman, Ph.D.


alcohol purchase task, drinking, expectancy, primes


A considerable body of research supports the application of behavioral economic principles to study the relative reinforcing efficacy of drug and alcohol use. One self-report measure, the Alcohol Purchase Task, is thought to account for individual differences in the subjective valuation of alcohol consumption. To date, however, behavioral economic approaches have not evaluated the possible influence of memory-based expectations regarding the cognitive and behavioral effects of substance use on their measures. Alcohol expectancy research has found that more positive expectancies about the effects alcohol directly mediate drinking behavior and are associated with a number of alcohol-related outcomes. Given the importance of alcohol expectancies, the current study incorporated cognitive priming techniques into the Alcohol Purchase Task instruction set to test whether the activation of alcohol expectancy primes influenced patterns of alcohol consumption. Although previous research has primarily used the Alcohol Purchase Task in samples of heavy drinkers, we also examined differences between heavier and lighter drinkers to test whether expectancy primes would differentially influence alcohol demand. As expected, both heavier and lighter drinkers in the expectancy priming conditions purchased more alcohol overall relative to those in a non-primed condition. Results also suggest the positive-social expectancy content in the Alcohol Purchase Task increased the overall demand for alcohol relative to a modified Alcohol Purchase Task with no contextual primes, even after controlling for alcohol

consumption. Although previous behavioral economic research has examined alcohol expectancies as a secondary outcome, the current study is the first to directly examine the influence of expectancies on alcohol demand using the Alcohol Purchase Task.