Free-viewing multi-stimulus eye tracking task to index attention bias for alcohol versus soda cues: Satisfactory reliability and criterion validity

Ali Soleymani, Yavor Ivanov, Sebastiaan Mathot, Peter J. de Jong

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Cognitive -motivational models point to attention bias (AB) as an important factor in the persistence of problematic drinking behavior. Unfortunately, the measures that have been used to examine AB in addiction typically showed poor psychometric properties. To bring research on AB a critical step further it would be crucial to develop tasks with acceptable reliability and construct validity. Recently, Lazarov and colleagues (2016) developed a multi-stimulus free-viewing task (participants were free to look at any part of the screen and there was no secondary task involved) that showed excellent psychometric properties in the context of social anxiety as well as depression. We, therefore, adapted this task and examined its psychometric quality within the context of alcohol use. Participants with varying levels of alcohol use (N = 100) were presented with 54 matrices each containing 8 alcoholic and 8 non-alcoholic drinks. Each matrix was presented for 6 s. First fixation (100 ms) location and latency and total dwell time were assessed for alcohol and soda pictures. Assessment of AB, craving, and alcohol use (problems) was repeated after 3–8 days. Specifically, the dwell-time based AB-measure showed excellent internal reliability and considerable stability. Supporting the validity of the current AB-measures, it was found that participants with higher scores on craving and alcohol problems (i) dwelt longer on alcohol stimuli, and (ii) more often showed a first fixation on alcohol, whereas (iii) stronger craving was associated with shorter latency of first alcohol fixations. The AB-measure showed promising psychometric properties. Thus, this free-viewing eye-tracking task seems a welcome new tool for being used in future research on AB in addiction.
Originele taal-2English
Aantal pagina's7
TijdschriftAddictive Behaviors
Vroegere onlinedatum5-sep.-2019
StatusPublished - jan.-2020

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