Predictors of attentional bias modification: Examining the influence of reflective processes of self-evaluation for risky alcohol use on changes in attentional bias following intervention.


Author/Creator ORCID






Human Services

Citation of Original Publication


Distribution Rights granted to UMBC by the author.
Access limited to the UMBC community. Item may possibly be obtained via Interlibrary Loan thorugh a local library, pending author/copyright holder's permission.
This item is likely protected under Title 17 of the U.S. Copyright Law. Unless on a Creative Commons license, for uses protected by Copyright Law, contact the copyright holder or the author.


Dual Process Models describe the critical influences on human behavior, including substance use, by recognizing the role of two distinct processes: automatic and reflective (for a review see Wiers, et al. 2013). With repeated substance use, these processing systems change, creating biases in cognitive information processing. The present study examined one form of cognitive bias, attentional bias, or the directing of attention towards personally relevant stimuli. The goal of this study was to better understand how interventions to reduce attentional bias for alcohol-related stimuli among individuals with risky alcohol use operate, and whether their outcomes can be predicted by explicit factors of addiction, specifically motivation, craving, and self-efficacy. Individuals consuming above recommended levels of alcohol and endorsing consequences related to their drinking were recruited. The experimental design included a dot probe task, with the discrepancy between reaction time on alcohol-stimuli trials versus neutral-stimuli trials representing alcohol attentional bias. Participants received an intervention to reduce attentional bias via an adapted dot probe task. The changes in attentional bias for alcohol-related stimuli after intervention were used as the dependent variable. A series of regression analyses were conducted to examine the relationship between predictor variables and changes in attentional bias. Results found that the intervention successfully reduced alcohol attentional bias among the current sample. However, our hypothesized relationships between the reflective processes of addiction and changes in attentional bias following modification were not supported. The current research explored the relationship between the automatic and reflective processes of Dual Process Models and determined that these reflective processes are not predictive of automatic processes, such as attentional bias.