Explicit and Implicit Measures of Expectancy and Related Alcohol Cognitions: A Meta-Analytic Comparison

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alcohol expectancy, alcohol-related cognition, implicit cognition, implicit memory, meta-analysis

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Implicit measures assess the influence of past experience on present behavior in the absence of respondents’ awareness of that influence. Application of implicit measurement to expectancy and related alcohol cognition research has helped elucidate the links between alcohol-related experiences, the functioning of alcohol-related memory, and alcohol-related behavior. Despite these advances, a coherent picture of the role of implicit measurement has been difficult to achieve because of the diversity of implicit measures used. Two central questions have emerged: Do implicit measures assess a distinct aspect of the alcohol associative memory domain not accessible via explicit measurement; when compared with explicit measurement, do they offer unique prediction of alcohol consumption? To address these questions, the authors conducted a meta-analysis of studies using both implicit and explicit measures of alcohol expectancy and other types of alcohol-related cognition. Results indicate that implicit and explicit measures are weakly related, and although they predict some shared variance in drinking, each also contributes a unique component. Results are discussed in the context of the theoretical distinction made between the 2 types of measures.

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Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, v. 24, issue 1, p. 13-25