Attentional bias modification in male college smokers: the changes of facilitated attention, difficulty in disengagement and the transfer effects of training

Published: 26-05-2020| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/rhcc3c4w8m.1
Contributor:
xiangcai he

Description

Attentional bias (AB) to smoking-related cues is considered an important risk factor for the development and maintenance of smoking. Attentional bias modification (ABM) has been used to modify the AB of smokers to smoking-related cues. Still, the training effects are extensively controversial. The present study aimed to investigate the effects of ABM that can affect AB and its components in smokers, and whether the training effects could transfer to different measures of AB. Forty-six male college smokers were allocated to either ABM training group using a modified visual probe task (n = 24), or corresponding placebo training (PT) group (n = 22). Training was computer-based and comprised three sessions in one week. Smoking craving and nicotine dependence were assessed using two self-report questionnaires, and the AB and its components were assessed using visual probe task with different stimulus durations from pre- to post-training. The transfer effects of visual-probe ABM on other AB measures were examined by assessing AB using the cue-target task and the pictorial Stroop task both before and after ABM training. Results showed that ABM training led to significantly decrease in AB to smoking-related cues as compared with the PT condition. The facilitated attention significantly reduced at 200 ms, whereas the difficulty in disengagement significantly decreased at 500 ms after ABM training. However, ABM had no effects on smoking craving and nicotine dependence. The training effects of visual-probe ABM could transfer to the cue-target task, but failed to generalize to the pictorial Stroop task.

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For the visual probe task, AB scores were obtained by subtracting the mean RTs of smoking-related pictures trials from the mean RTs of neutral control pictures trails in smoking-related and neutral control pictures pairs. The neutral control pictures pairs were added to examine facilitated attention and difficulty in disengagement in different SOAs. Facilitated attention was calculated by subtracting the mean RTs of smoking-related pictures trails in smoking-related and neutral control pictures pairs from the mean RTs of neutral control pictures trails in neutral control pictures pairs. Difficulty in disengagement was calculated by subtracting the mean RTs of neutral control pictures trails in neutral control pictures pairs from the mean RTs of neutral control pictures trails in smoking-related and neutral control pictures pairs. For the pictorial Stroop task, AB scores were obtained by subtracting the mean RTs of the neutral control pictures from those of the smoking-related pictures. For the cue-target task, AB scores were calculated as follows: AB = [(mean RTs of smoking-related pictures with invalid cues - mean RTs of smoking-related pictures with valid cues) - (mean RTs of neutral control pictures with invalid cues - mean RTs of neutral control pictures with valid cues)], in line with Bockstaele et al. (2015). Facilitated attention was calculated by subtracting the mean RTs of smoking-related pictures with valid cues from those of neutral control pictures with valid cues. Difficulty in disengagement was calculated by subtracting the mean RTs of neutral control pictures with invalid cues from those of smoking-related pictures with invalid cues. For all AB scores, positive scores reflected AB to smoking-related cues, whereas negative scores suggested the avoidance of smoking-related pictures.