From the APS Journal Archive: Getting a Grip on Drinking Behavior : Training Working Memory to Reduce Alcohol Abuse

‘Getting a Grip on Drinking Behavior : Training Working Memory to Reduce Alcohol Abuse’ by Katrijn Houben1, Reinout W. Wiers2 and Anita Jansen1 was published in Psychological Science in June 2011 and has been cited 1 time (via Web of Science) since publication.

Click here to read the article in full.

Abstract:

Alcohol abuse disrupts core executive functions, including working memory (WM)—the ability to maintain and manipulate goal-relevant information. When executive functions like WM are weakened, drinking behavior gets out of control and is guided more strongly by automatic impulses. This study investigated whether training WM restores control over drinking behavior. Forty-eight problem drinkers performed WM training tasks or control tasks during 25 sessions over at least 25 days. Before and after training, we measured WM and drinking behavior. Training WM improved WM and reduced alcohol intake for more than 1 month after the training. Further, the indirect effect of training on alcohol use through improved WM was moderated by participants’ levels of automatic impulses: Increased WM reduced alcohol consumption in participants with relatively strong automatic preferences for alcohol. These findings are consistent with the theoretical framework and demonstrate that training WM may be an effective strategy to reduce alcohol use by increasing control over automatic impulses to drink alcohol.

1Maastricht University
2University of Amsterdam

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