A pictorial Stroop paradigm reveals an alcohol attentional bias in heavier compared to lighter social drinkers

Gillian Bruce, Barry T. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


The findings obtained with the textual Stroop paradigm, testing for an
attentional bias towards alcohol stimuli in heavier compared to lighter
social drinkers, are limited in number and inconsistent in outcome.
Using a pictorial rather than textual Stroop paradigm for the first time in
alcohol research, a significant alcohol attentional bias is reported in
heavier social drinkers compared to lighter social drinking controls.
According to Cohen’s scheme, the signifant effect size is classified as
‘large’. The presence of an alcohol attentional bias helps to explain the
perpetuation of abusive/dependent consumption and the frequency of
post-treatment relapse. In a similar vein, these results add to the
evidence that a differential alcohol attentional bias might also be
present between two levels of social drinking and, in heavier social
drinkers, has the potential to impact on the contents of awareness and
the flow of thought towards alcohol. In this respect, it extends the small
group of other perceptual-cognitive effects measured in social drinkers
(alcohol cue reactions, alcohol associations and alcohol expectancies)
that can influence the initiation of consumption in some social drinkers.
alcohol consumption, alcohol Stroop, attentional bias, cognitive bias,
emotional Stroop, implicit cognition, information processing bias,
pictorial Stroop, social drinkers
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)527-533
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Psychopharmacology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • alcohol consumption
  • alcohol Stroop
  • attentional bias
  • cognitive bias
  • emotional Stroop
  • implicit cognition
  • information processing bias
  • pictorial Stroop
  • social drinkers


Dive into the research topics of 'A pictorial Stroop paradigm reveals an alcohol attentional bias in heavier compared to lighter social drinkers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this