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Cue reactivity in alcohol abusers: stimulus specificity and extinction of the responses
journal contributionposted on 1991-01-01, 00:00 authored by Petra StaigerPetra Staiger, J M White
Sixteen alcohol abusers who had completed detoxification were presented with seven different types of alcohol and non-alcohol related stimuli. The sight and smell of the alcoholic beverage most commonly consumed by each subject elicited the largest change in response for measures of heart rate, desire to drink, and self-reported withdrawal symptoms. Beverages progressively more different from the preferred one produced responses of consistently lower magnitude. In the second phase of the study, 10 subjects were exposed to 20 presentations of the sight and smell of their preferred drink. A gradual reduction in the magnitude of the response for all three measures was observed over the 20 presentations. These results were discussed in terms of a conditioning interpretation of cue reactivity. They indicate the need for cue exposure programs to be based on the particular drinking history of the individual.