Beer à no-go: learning to stop responding to alcohol cues reduces alcohol intake via reduced affective associations rather than increased response inhibition
Article first published online: 4 APR 2012
© 2012 The Authors, Addiction © 2012 Society for the Study of Addiction
Volume 107, Issue 7, pages 1280–1287, July 2012
How to Cite
Houben, K., Havermans, R. C., Nederkoorn, C. and Jansen, A. (2012), Beer à no-go: learning to stop responding to alcohol cues reduces alcohol intake via reduced affective associations rather than increased response inhibition. Addiction, 107: 1280–1287. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2012.03827.x
- Issue published online: 6 JUN 2012
- Article first published online: 4 APR 2012
- Accepted manuscript online: 1 FEB 2012 01:04PM EST
- Submitted 22 September 2011; initial review completed 21 November 2011; final version accepted 24 January 2012
- go/no-go task;
- implicit attitudes;
- response inhibition
Aims Previous research has shown that consistently not responding to alcohol-related stimuli in a go/no-go training procedure reduces drinking behaviour. This study aimed to examine further the mechanisms underlying this go/no-go training effect.
Design, setting and participants Fifty-seven heavy drinkers were assigned randomly to two training conditions: in the beer/no-go condition, alcohol-related stimuli were always paired with a stopping response, while in the beer/go condition participants always responded to alcohol-related stimuli. Participants were tested individually in a laboratory at Maastricht University.
Measurements Weekly alcohol intake, implicit attitudes towards beer, approach–avoidance action tendencies towards beer and response inhibition were measured before and after the training.
Findings Results showed a significant reduction in both implicit attitudes (P = 0.03) and alcohol intake (P = 0.02) in the beer/no-go condition, but not in the beer/go condition. There were no significant training effects on action tendencies or response inhibition.
Conclusions Repeatedly stopping pre-potent responses towards alcohol-related stimuli reduces excessive alcohol use via a devaluation of alcohol-related stimuli rather than via increased inhibitory control over alcohol-related responses.