Motivational Mechanisms Underlying the Approach Bias to Cigarettes

P. Watson, S. de Wit, J. Cousijn, B. Hommel, R.W. Wiers

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Approach Avoidance tasks measure approach bias, a behavioral tendency to be faster at approaching rather than avoiding drug cues. Approach bias has been measured in a number of different drug-using populations and there is evidence to suggest that approach bias measurements correlate with drug use. Little is known, however, about the motivational mechanisms underlying the approach bias. In the current study we assessed whether the approach bias to cigarettes was immediately sensitive to changes in the incentive value of smoking. We examined the change from baseline in a participant group, after half the group had been given the opportunity to smoke. Specifically, we examined whether the approach bias has the characteristics of a cue-elicited behavior or is flexibly modulated by current desire. Results showed that while the baseline approach-bias score in deprived cigarette smokers correlated with craving, smoking a cigarette led to reduced craving but an increased approach bias score. We discuss a possible account of these findings in terms of an ideomotor outcome-response priming mechanism.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychopathology
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2013

Bibliographical note

This study was made possible through funding received from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research
(NWO; 433-09-243). The authors are grateful to the following students who collected data for this project: Emmie
Koevoets, Simone Kamphuijs, Jasper Evenblij and Wirin Sukdeo.

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