Alcoholism and Memory: Broadening the Scope of Alcohol Expectancy Research

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alcohol expectations, prediction of drinking patterns & etiology of alcoholism, commentary

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Current biopsychological research on the etiology of alcoholism has begun to focus on memory processes as a possible common pathway for drinking decisions. The alcohol-expectancy construct is rooted both in cognitive psychology and alcohol research and can serve as a vehicle for this study. Reexamination of one recent review of issues in alcohol-expectancy research provides an opportunity to broaden the scope of this research with theoretical and methodological alternatives to those suggested in that review. Most importantly, this article shows that expectancy findings, discussed by B. C. Leigh (see record 1989-29730-001) as reflecting "psychometric" limitations, are instead quite consistent with recent network models of memory structure. Such models can provide an informative guide to future research activities. It is also recommended that alcohol-expectancy research remain open to inputs from expectancy theories already developed in several psychological domains, as well as to theories of social cognition and attitude structure in addition to those advanced by Leigh.

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Psychological Bulletin, v. 110, issue 1, p. 137-146