Implicit Priming of Alcohol Expectancy Memory Processes and Subsequent Drinking Behavior

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implicit contextual &/vs verbal priming of alcohol expectancy memory processes, nonalcoholic beer consumption, female 25–45 yr olds

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Expectations about the effects of alcohol have been modeled as stored memories. This study tested the memory view for investigating the processes that influence drinking. Strategies taken from recent memory research were used to implicitly prime drinking. Consequent effects on consumption of a commercial nonalcoholic beer were measured. Participants were led to believe this beer contained alcohol. Eighty undergraduate women (n = 20 per cell) participated in 2, apparently unrelated, studies. A 2 × 2 factorial design simultaneously varied videotaped primes (bar setting or neutral video) with semantic primes (expectancy or neutral words). Women exposed to unobtrusive alcohol primes of either type drank significantly greater amounts (p < .001) of placebo beer, compared with women who received control primes. Hence, "automatic" memory processes can influence "alcohol" consumption and alcohol expectancies appear to function as does other memory content.

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Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, v. 3, issue 4, p. 402-410