The Influence of Alcohol Expectancy Priming and Mood Manipulation on Subsequent Alcohol Consumption

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Studies showing that verbal priming can implicitly affect alcohol consumption have been used to support cognitive models of expectancies. However, because expectancy words reflect affective states as well as drinking outcomes, mediation through an affective pathway remains theoretically plausible (i.e., such words inadvertently may affect mood, which in turn influences drinking). The primary pathway was identified (and expectancy theory was tested) by comparing memory priming (using alcohol expectancy or neutral words) with mood induction (using positive or neutral music); an unrelated experiment paradigm allowed the priming manipulation to implicitly affect drinking. Men in the alcohol priming group drank significantly more than men in each of the other conditions, and, consistent with theory, men with histories of heavier drinking drank the most when primed with alcohol expectancies, indicating that expectancies can function as automatic memory processes.

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Journal of Abnormal Psychology, v. 109, issue 1, p. 106-115