Implicit and Explicit Alcohol‐Related Cognitions

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Implicit Cognition, Implicit Association, Memory Association, Drinking Motivation, Implicit Priming, Alcohol Expectancy

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This article presents the proceedings of a symposium at the 2001 RSA Meeting in Montreal, Canada organized by Reinout W. Wiers and Alan W. Stacy. The purpose of the symposium was to present recent applications of implicit cognitive processing theory to alcohol research. Basic cognitive research has demonstrated that implicit cognition influences memory and behavior without explicit recall or introspection. The presentations from this symposium show that implicit cognition approaches yield new insights into understanding drinking motivation. The presentations were: (1) An introduction by Alan W. Stacy; (2) Implicit cognition and alcohol use. Involvement of other variables? (Susan L. Ames); (3) Alcohol expectancies and the art of implicit priming (Jane A. Noll); (4) Parental alcoholism and the effects of alcohol on semantic priming (Michael A. Sayette); (5) Implicit arousal and explicit liking of alcohol in heavy drinkers (Reinout W. Wiers); and (6) Negative affective cues and associative cognition in problem drinkers (Martin Zack). Comments were provided by the discussant Marvin Krank. The presented studies demonstrated that: (1) implicit memories of alcohol associations are powerful predictors and cross‐sectional correlates of alcohol use; (2) implicit retrieval processes influence alcohol outcome expectancies and alcohol consumption; (3) alcohol consumption influences implicit memory processing; (4) heavy drinkers reveal different affective responses in implicit and explicit tasks; and (5) negative affect exerts an implicit priming effect for alcohol associations in problem drinkers. These findings illustrate the importance of implicit cognition in understanding alcohol abuse and demonstrate the potential of the theoretical framework for more widespread application across a variety of areas of alcohol research, including diagnostics for the risk of alcohol abuse, treatment, and prevention.

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Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, v. 26, issue 1, p. 129-137