Context Effects on Alcohol Cognitions

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This article summarizes a symposium on context and alcohol‐related cognitions presented at the 2004 Annual Meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The studies reported here examine how the manipulation of contextual variables influences the availability of alcohol outcome expectancies and implicit memories for alcohol associations. The symposium illustrates the range of context variables and shows some of the potential impact of retrieval on cognitions that predict alcohol use. Two of the studies explore naturalistic drinking contexts: one examines the impact of stress induction, and one assesses within survey question placement effects. A variety of measures of alcohol cognitions were used. The results demonstrate that alcohol cognitions are more accessible in alcohol‐related contexts. Moreover, availability of alcohol associations and expectancies depended on individual differences. These results underscore the potential value of memory processes in the retrieval and measurement of alcohol cognitions. The findings have direct implications for improving methods of predicting alcohol use and in understanding the role of alcohol cognitions in various contexts associated with alcohol use.

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Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, v. 29, issue 2, p. 196-206