Using a Modified Stroop Task to Implicitly Discern the Cognitive Organization of Alcohol Expectancies

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alcohol expectancies; Stroop interference; words; heavy drinkers; cognitive organization; priming; light drinkers

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Alcohol expectancies have been statistically modeled as memory networks that influence future consumption. To test the organization of expectancies suggested by these models, a modified Stroop color-naming task incorporated expectancy words associated in past research with heavy and light drinking. Light and heavy drinkers ink-named expectancy targets after being cued with an alcohol beverage word or a nonalcohol beverage word. Consistent with predictions derived from statistical models, heavy drinkers displayed significant interference when arousing expectancy words had been primed by an alcohol beverage word, whereas light drinkers displayed significant interference when sedating expectancy targets had been so primed. These results reinforce the idea that mediation of alcohol use by expectancies may be implicit as well as explicit.

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Journal of Abnormal Psychology, v. 112, issue 1, p. 171-175