Alcohol administration reduces attentional bias to alcohol-related but not food-related cues: Evidence for a satiety hypothesis

Ramey Monem, Mark T. Fillmore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Attentional bias to alcohol is a well-documented effect whereby drinkers allocate greater visual attention toward alcohol-related stimuli rather than nonappetitive, neutral stimuli. Some recent research has shown that acute administration of alcohol temporarily reduces attentional bias to alcohol cues, possibly because alcohol consumption satiates the motivation to drink. However, the specificity of this effect has not been tested, and so it is unclear whether reduced attentional bias following alcohol is specific to alcohol-related stimuli or whether attention to other appetitive stimuli is also reduced (e.g., food). This study tested the degree to which acute alcohol administration selectively reduced attentional bias to alcohol-related but not to food-related cues in a group of 23 healthy young adults who reported consuming alcohol roughly twice per week. Attentional bias to alcohol-related and food-related cues was tested using visual dot probe tasks following 2 active doses of alcohol, .30 g/kg and .65 g/kg, and a placebo. Results showed that attentional bias, measured as fixation time to stimuli on the visual probe tasks, to alcohol cues declined in a dose-dependent manner, whereas attentional bias to food cues was unaffected by the doses. The evidence suggests that alcohol consumption specifically reduces attentional bias to alcohol-related stimuli whereas bias to other appetitive stimuli remains intact. Evidence that alcohol consumption reduces attentional bias specifically to alcohol cues lends further credibility to the satiation theory and to the utility of attentional bias as an indicator of acute and transient changes in an individual's motivation to use alcohol.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)677-684
Number of pages8
JournalPsychology of Addictive Behaviors
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Psychological Association.


  • Alcohol
  • Attentional bias
  • Food
  • Satiation
  • Specificity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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