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Generalised inhibitory impairment to appetitive cues: From alcoholic to non-alcoholic visual stimuli

Monk, Rebecca L.; Qureshi, Adam; Pennington, Charlotte; Hamlin, Iain


Rebecca L. Monk

Adam Qureshi

Charlotte Pennington

Iain Hamlin


© 2017 Background Prior research demonstrates that individuals who consume alcohol show diminished inhibitory control towards alcohol-related cues. However, such research contrasts predominantly alcoholic appetitive cues with non-alcoholic, non-appetitive cues (e.g., stationary items). As such, it is not clear whether it is specifically the alcoholic nature of the cues that influences impairments in inhibitory control or whether more general appetitive processes are at play. Aims The current study examined the hitherto untested assertion that the disinhibiting effects of alcohol-related stimuli might generalise to other appetitive liquid stimuli, but not to non-appetitive liquid stimuli. Method Fifty-nine participants (Mage = 21.63, SD = 5.85) completed a modified version of the Stop Signal Task, which exposed them to visual stimuli of three types of liquids: Alcoholic appetitive (e.g., wine), non-alcoholic appetitive (e.g., water) and non-appetitive (e.g., washing-up liquid). Results Consistent with predictions, Stop-signal reaction time was significantly longer for appetitive (alcoholic, non-alcoholic) compared to non-appetitive stimuli. Participants were also faster and less error-prone when responding to appetitive relative to non-appetitive stimuli on go-trials. There were no apparent differences in stop signal reaction times between alcoholic and non-alcoholic appetitive products. Conclusions These findings suggest that decreases in inhibitory control in response to alcohol-related cues might generalise to other appetitive liquids, possibly due to evaluative conditioning. Implications for existing research methodologies include the use of appetitive control conditions and the diversification of cues within tests of alcohol-related inhibitory control.


Monk, R. L., Qureshi, A., Pennington, C., & Hamlin, I. (2017). Generalised inhibitory impairment to appetitive cues: From alcoholic to non-alcoholic visual stimuli. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 180, 26-32.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 26, 2017
Online Publication Date Aug 31, 2017
Publication Date Nov 1, 2017
Deposit Date Sep 12, 2017
Journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence
Print ISSN 0376-8716
Electronic ISSN 1879-0046
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 180
Pages 26-32
Keywords inhibitory control, disinhibition, context, alcohol-related cues, appetitive cues, stop signal
Public URL
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