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      Retraining Automatic Action Tendencies Changes Alcoholic Patients’ Approach Bias for Alcohol and Improves Treatment Outcome

      1 , 2 , 3 , 3 , 2
      Psychological Science
      SAGE Publications

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          Abstract

          This study tested the effects of a new cognitive-bias modification (CBM) intervention that targeted an approach bias for alcohol in 214 alcoholic inpatients. Patients were assigned to one of two experimental conditions, in which they were explicitly or implicitly trained to make avoidance movements (pushing a joystick) in response to alcohol pictures, or to one of two control conditions, in which they received no training or sham training. Four brief sessions of experimental CBM preceded regular inpatient treatment. In the experimental conditions only, patients' approach bias changed into an avoidance bias for alcohol. This effect generalized to untrained pictures in the task used in the CBM and to an Implicit Association Test, in which alcohol and soft-drink words were categorized with approach and avoidance words. Patients in the experimental conditions showed better treatment outcomes a year later. These findings indicate that a short intervention can change alcoholics' automatic approach bias for alcohol and may improve treatment outcome.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Psychological Science
          Psychol Sci
          SAGE Publications
          0956-7976
          1467-9280
          March 09 2011
          April 2011
          March 09 2011
          April 2011
          : 22
          : 4
          : 490-497
          Affiliations
          [1 ]Department of Psychology, University of Amsterdam
          [2 ]Salus Klinik, Lindow, Germany
          [3 ]Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University
          Article
          10.1177/0956797611400615
          21389338
          9cf9b4bb-a627-4727-9a6a-abc20e3ba295
          © 2011

          http://journals.sagepub.com/page/policies/text-and-data-mining-license

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