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Author: Theodora Duka (67)


Jan
2018

Impulsivity received considerable attention in the context of drug misuse and certain neuropsychiatric conditions. Because of its great health and well-being importance, it is crucial to understand factors which modulate impulsive behaviour. As a growing body of literature indicates the role of emotional and physiological states in guiding our actions and decisions, we argue that current affective state and physiological arousal exert a significant influence on behavioural impulsivity.

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Apr
2018

Classical conditioning theories of addiction suggest that stimuli associated with rewards acquire incentive salience, inducing emotional and attentional conditioned responses. It is not clear whether those responses occur without contingency awareness (CA), i.e.

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Jan
2018

Alexithymia describes an abnormality of emotional experience that is commonly expressed among individuals with addiction and alcohol abuse disorders. Alexithymic individuals are characterized by difficulties in identifying and describing their emotions. This impairment is linked to the development and maintenance of addiction.

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Nov
2017

Temperament and character dimensions of personality remain largely unexplored in young adults exhibiting binge drinking (BD) patterns. Moreover, the available studies do not consider gender differences and dismiss possible personality heterogeneity among binge drinkers. In this study, we aimed to compare temperament and character dimensions between young binge drinkers and age- and sex-matched social drinkers.

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Dec
1969

Variations in genes encoding several GABAreceptors have been associated with human drug and alcohol abuse. Among these, a number of human studies have suggested an association between, the gene encoding GABAreceptor β1 subunits, with Alcohol dependence (AD), both on its own and comorbid with other substance dependence and psychiatric illnesses. In the present study, we hypothesized that thegenetically-associated increased risk for developing alcoholism may be associated with impaired behavioral control and altered sensitivity to reward, as a consequence of altered brain function.

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Dec
1969

Reward-predictive stimuli augment instrumental reward-seeking in humans, an effect denoted Pavlovian-to-instrumental transfer (PIT), but the role of differential reward value of these stimuli and of emotional conditioned responses in PIT remains unknown. Fifty one participants experienced a Pavlovian phase that associated two stimuli with either 10p (CS10) or 50p (CS50). Next, participants underwent instrumental training for two responses reinforced with either 10p or 50p.

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Oct
2016

Youths with family history (FH) of alcoholism are at greater risk of developing alcohol use disorder (AUD); heightened impulsive behavior may underlie such increased vulnerability. Here, we studied waiting impulsivity (previously suggested to predispose to alcohol drinking) in young moderate-to-heavy social drinkers (18 to 33 years old) characterized as family history positive (FHP) and negative (FHN) following an alcoholic or nonalcoholic (placebo) drink.
Two groups of young male and female social drinkers (n = 64) were administered an acute dose of alcohol (0.

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Mar
2017

Binge drinking is associated with impaired cognitive functioning, but the relationship of cognitive impairments and white matter integrity is less known. We used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to investigate the relationships of binge drinking, whole brain white matter integrity and cognitive performance during young adulthood (18 to 25 years), a period of continued brain development in two sessions 1 year apart. Binge drinkers (n = 20) and non-binge drinkers (n = 20) underwent DTI and completed measures of spatial working memory and motor impulsivity.

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Dec
1969

Variations in the GABRA2 gene, encoding α2 subunits of GABAA receptors, have been associated with risk for addiction to several drugs, but the mechanisms by which variations in non-coding regions of GABRA2 increase risk for addictions are not understood. Mice with deletion of GABRA2 show deficits in the ability of psychostimulants to facilitate responding for conditioned reinforcers, offering a potential explanation.
We report human and mouse studies investigating a potential endophenotype underlying this association.

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Apr
2015

'Impulsivity' refers to a range of behaviours including preference for immediate reward (temporal-impulsivity) and the tendency to make premature decisions (reflection-impulsivity) and responses (motor-impulsivity). The current study aimed to examine how different behavioural and self-report measurements of impulsivity can be categorised into distinct subtypes. Exploratory factor analysis using full information maximum likelihood was conducted on 10 behavioural and 1 self-report measure of impulsivity.

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Nov
2014

Alcoholic patients with multiple detoxifications/relapses show cognitive and emotional deficits. We performed structural magnetic resonance imaging and examined performance on a cognitive flexibility task (intra-extradimensional set shift and reversal; IED). We also presented subjects with fearful, disgust and anger facial emotional expressions.

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Sep
2014

Stress is known to play an important role in alcohol abuse, whereas binge drinking may increase individuals' susceptibility to the development of alcohol dependence. We set out to investigate whether binge drinkers (BDs) or non-BDs (NBDs) are at a greater risk of an increase in their desire for alcohol following experimental stress induction (modified Trier Social Stress Test; Experiment 1) and to explore the biological mechanisms underlying such an effect (Experiment 2). Preclinical evidence suggests that serotonin may mediate stress-induced reinstatement of alcohol intake.

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Dec
2014

There are well-established links between impulsivity and alcohol use in humans and animal models; however, whether exaggerated impulsivity is a premorbid risk factor or a consequence of alcohol intake remains unclear. In a first approach, human young (18-25 years) social binge and non-binge drinkers were tested for motor impulsivity and attentional abilities in a human version of the Five-Choice Serial Reaction Time Task (Sx-5CSRTT), modeled on the rodent 5CSRTT. Participants completed four variants of the Sx-5CSRT, in addition to being screened for impulsive traits (BIS-11 questionnaire) and impulsive behavior (by means of the Delay Discounting Questionnaire, Two-Choice Impulsivity Paradigm (TCIP), Stop Signal Reaction Time, and Time Estimation Task).

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Oct
2013

Evidence suggests that emotional memory plays a role in the pathophysiology of depression/anxiety disorders. Noradrenaline crucially modulates emotional memory. Genetic variants involved in noradrenergic signaling contribute to individual differences in emotional memory and vulnerability to psychopathology.

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Dec
1969

Alcohol impairs inhibitory control, including the ability to terminate an initiated action. While there is increasing knowledge about neural mechanisms involved in response inhibition, the level at which alcohol impairs such mechanisms remains poorly understood. Thirty-nine healthy social drinkers received either 0.

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Sep
2013

Alcohol increases hypnotic susceptibility.

Conscious Cogn 2013 Sep 17;22(3):1082-91. Epub 2013 Aug 17.
Rebecca Semmens-Wheeler, Zoltán Dienes, Theodora Duka
One approach to hypnosis suggests that for hypnotic experience to occur frontal lobe activity must be attenuated. For example, cold control theory posits that a lack of awareness of intentions is responsible for the experience of involuntariness and/or the subjective reality of hypnotic suggestions. The mid-dorso-lateral prefrontal cortex and the ACC are candidate regions for such awareness.

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Dec
1969

Literature on impulsivity regularly claims inhibitory control deficits underlie impulsive behavior. The current study investigated whether taxing inhibitory control will increase reflection (decision making under conditions of uncertainty), temporal (delay of gratification), and motor impulsivity (behavioral disinhibition). Inhibitory control was challenged, via a random letter generation task presented during responding to three impulsivity measures: the Information Sampling Task (IST), Single Key Impulsivity Paradigm, and the Stop Signal Task (SST).

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Sep
2013

It is well established that alcohol acutely impairs the ability to inhibit a pre-potent response (motor impulsivity), but its effects on cognitive impulsivity, including temporal (delayed gratification) and reflection (decision making) impulsivity, are not clear. An important factor contributing to the effects of alcohol is cognitive expectancies of alcohol-related outcomes.
The current study investigated the effect of alcohol, and alcohol outcome expectancies, on subtypes of impulsivity.

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Jun
2013

Acute alcohol ingestion increases attentional bias to alcohol-related stimuli; however, the underlying cognitive and brain mechanisms remain unknown. We combined functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) with performance of a dual task that probed attentional distraction by alcohol-related stimuli during 'conflict' processing: the Concurrent Flanker/Alcohol-Attentional bias task (CFAAT). In this task, an Eriksen Flanker task is superimposed on task-unrelated background pictures with alcohol-associated or neutral content.

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Feb
2013

Alcohol-related stimuli attract social drinkers' attention (attentional bias). We devised a dual task to test whether attentional biases to alcohol-related stimuli are modulated by cognitive control mechanisms. Sixteen nondependent healthy social drinkers were required to respond to the direction of a central arrow (target) and to ignore adjacent congruent (low cognitive load) or incongruent (high cognitive load) distracting arrows (flankers) in the presence of alcohol-related, neutral or plain grey backgrounds.

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Sep
2012

Alcoholic patients who have undergone multiple detoxifications/relapses show altered processing of emotional signals. We performed functional magnetic resonance imaging during performance of implicit and explicit versions of a task in which subjects were presented with morphs of fearful facial emotional expressions. Participants were abstaining, multiply detoxified (MDTx; n=12) or singly detoxified patients (SDTx; n=17), and social drinker controls (n=31).

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Dec
1969

The use of animal models is essential in carrying out research into clinical phenomena such as addiction. However, the complexity of the clinical condition inevitably means that even the best animal models are inadequate representations of the condition they seek to mimic. Such mismatches may account for apparent inconsistencies between discoveries in animal models, including the identification of potential novel therapies, and the translation of such discoveries to the clinic.

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Sep
2011

The ability to abstain from drinking, despite incentives to imbibe, is essential to recovery from alcoholism.
We used an incentive conflict task to investigate ability to abstain from responding during presentations of incentive cues. Both alcoholic (n = 23) and healthy subjects (n = 22) were required to withhold responding during the simultaneous presentation of two visual stimuli in which the individual presentation allowed responding for monetary reward.

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Apr
2011

To examine the predictive utility of psychological correlates of alcohol consumption identified in previous (US-dominated) research for a UK student sample and construct an integrative model predictive of alcohol dependency in a sample of first-year undergraduate students.
A self-report questionnaire completed by 230 students measured stable and modifiable correlates of alcohol dependence. Stable correlates included age when first regularly drinking (age of onset), personality traits and religiosity.

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May
2011

Attentional capture and behavioral control by conditioned stimuli have been dissociated in animals. The current study assessed this dissociation in humans. Participants were trained on a Pavlovian schedule in which 3 visual stimuli, A, B, and C, predicted the occurrence of an aversive noise with 90%, 50%, or 10% probability, respectively.

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Sep
2011

Several theoretical frameworks have been developed to understand putative processes and mechanisms involved in addiction. Whilst these 'theories of addiction' disagree about importance and/or nature of a number of key psychological processes (e.g.

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Sep
2011

Several authors suggest that withdrawal from alcohol could cause neurotoxic lesions in the frontal lobe and thereby affect cognitive function. In line with this, previous studies have demonstrated greater cognitive impairment of alcohol-dependent patients with two or more previous detoxifications (Hi-detox) compared with patients with less than two detoxifications (Lo-detox). The aim of the present study was to investigate whether repeated withdrawal from alcohol affects recovery of cognitive function and is related to relapse.

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Apr
2010

Reward is a concept fundamental to discussions of drug abuse and addiction. The idea that altered sensitivity to either drug-reward, or to rewards in general, contributes to, or results from, drug-taking is a common theme in several theories of addiction. However, the concept of reward is problematic in that it is used to refer to apparently different behavioural phenomena, and even to diverse neurobiological processes (reward pathways).

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Apr
2010

There is only modest overlap in the most common alcohol consumption phenotypes measured in animal studies and those typically studied in humans. To address this issue, we identified a number of alcohol consumption phenotypes of importance to the field that have potential for consilience between human and animal models. These phenotypes can be broken down into three categories: (1) abstinence/the decision to drink or abstain; (2) the actual amount of alcohol consumed; and (3) heavy drinking.

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Feb
2010

The associative basis of cue-elicited drug taking in humans.

Psychopharmacology (Berl) 2010 Feb 4;208(3):337-51. Epub 2009 Dec 4.
Lee Hogarth, Anthony Dickinson, Theodora Duka
Drug cues play an important role in motivating human drug taking, lapse and relapse, but the psychological basis of this effect has not been fully specified.
To clarify these mechanisms, the study measured the extent to which pictorial and conditioned tobacco cues enhanced smoking topography in an ad libitum smoking session simultaneously with cue effects on subjective craving, pleasure and anxiety.
Both cue types increased the number of puffs consumed and craving, but pleasure and anxiety responses were dissociated across cue type.

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Dec
2009

To investigate whether acute alcohol would affect performance of a conditioned behavioural response to obtain a reward outcome and impair performance in a task measuring inhibitory control to provide new knowledge of how the acute effects of alcohol might contribute to the transition from alcohol use to dependence.
A randomized controlled between-subjects design was employed.
The laboratory of experimental psychology at the University of Sussex.

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Sep
2009

In the present study, the effect of previous detoxifications on prefrontal function and decision making was examined in alcohol-dependent patients. Further, we examined whether the length of abstinence affects cognitive function.
Forty-eight alcohol-dependent patients were recruited from an inpatient detoxification treatment facility and cognitive function was compared to a control group of 36 healthy controls.

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Jul
2009

We examined whether an attentional bias modification (ABM) procedure would produce a persistent and generalizable change in attentional bias, and influence subjective craving and tobacco-seeking behavior, among tobacco smokers.
Seventy-two cigarette smokers were randomly allocated to groups before completing a modified visual probe task in which their attentional bias for smoking-related cues was increased ("attend smoking" group), reduced ("avoid smoking" group), or not manipulated (control group).
The ABM produced the predicted changes in attentional bias, although these effects were short lasting, and there was no evidence of generalization either to novel smoking-related stimuli or to performance on a different measure of attentional bias (the pictorial Stroop task).

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Sep
2009

Recent studies demonstrated that alcohol impairs inhibitory control of behavioural responses.
We questioned whether alcohol via its disinhibiting effects would also impair the inhibition of an instrumental avoidance response in the presence of a safety signal.
Thirty-six moderate social drinkers were randomly allocated to receiving either alcohol (0.

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Jun
2009

Recent theories suggest that extinction is, at least partly, new learning suppressing original associations between a conditioned stimulus and a conditioned response without severing those associations. During extinction alcohol via its effects on inhibitory control may reduce the ability to suppress the original associations between a conditioned stimulus and a conditioned response leading to an impairment of extinction learning. Thus, the present study is set out to examine the effects of alcohol on extinction learning to enhance current knowledge on mechanisms of extinction and conditions that might hamper extinction, which is an important aspect for the treatment of alcohol-dependent patients.

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Feb
2009

It is commonly thought that attentional bias for drug cues plays an important role in motivating human drug-seeking behavior. To assess this claim, two groups of smokers were trained in a discrimination task in which a tobacco-seeking response was rewarded only in the presence of 1 particular stimulus (the S+). The key manipulation was that whereas 1 group could control the duration of S+ presentation, for the second group, this duration was fixed.

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Nov
2008

Three localized, visual pattern stimuli were trained as predictive signals of auditory outcomes. One signal partially predicted an aversive noise in Experiment 1 and a neutral tone in Experiment 2, whereas the other signals consistently predicted either the occurrence or absence of the noise. The expectation of the noise was measured during each signal presentation, and only participants for whom this expectation demonstrated contingency knowledge showed differential attention to the signals.

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Nov
2008

The attentional bias for drug cues is believed to be a causal cognitive process mediating human drug seeking and relapse.
To test this claim, we trained smokers on a tobacco conditioning procedure in which the conditioned stimulus (or S+) acquired parallel control of an attentional bias (measured with an eye tracker), tobacco expectancy and instrumental tobacco-seeking behaviour. Although this correlation between measures may be regarded as consistent with the claim that the attentional bias for the S+ mediated tobacco seeking, when a secondary task was added in the test phase, the attentional bias for the S+ was abolished, yet the control of tobacco expectancy and tobacco seeking remained intact.

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Oct
2008

Binge drinking is an increasingly recognized problem within the UK. We have studied the relationship of binge drinking to cognitive and emotional functioning in young adults, and have found evidence for increased impulsivity, impairments in spatial working memory and impaired emotional learning. Since in human studies it is difficult to understand whether such behavioural changes pre-date or are a consequence of binge drinking, we have also studied parallel behaviours in a rodent model, in which rats are exposed to intermittent episodes of alcohol consumption and withdrawal.

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Jul
2008

Earlier work has shown that alcohol may have disinhibiting effects on behaviour. Two studies tested the effects of a moderate dose of alcohol (0.6 g/kg) versus placebo on tasks that evaluate inhibitory processes related to alcohol stimuli, in moderate-to-heavy social drinkers (student population).

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Oct
2007

Human drug seeking may be goal directed in the sense that it is mediated by a mental representation of the drug or habitual in the sense that it is elicited by drug-paired cues directly. To test these 2 accounts, the authors assessed whether a drug-paired stimulus (S+) would transfer control to an independently trained drug-seeking response. Smokers were trained on an instrumental discrimination that established a tobacco S+ in Experiment 1 and a tobacco and a money S+ in Experiment 2 that elicited an expectancy of their respective outcomes.

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Jul
2007

In heavy drinkers, training attention towards alcohol cues increases alcohol craving, but it is not clear if effects of 'attentional training' generalise to novel stimuli and measurement procedures.
We investigated possible generalisation of attentional training to novel alcohol cues and other methods of measuring cognitive bias.
A modified visual probe task was used to train participants to direct their attention either towards ('attend alcohol' group) or away from ('avoid alcohol' group) alcohol cues; attentional bias was not manipulated in a control group (total N = 60).

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Aug
2006

Many forms of human conditioned behaviour depend upon explicit knowledge of the predictive contingency between stimuli, responses and the reinforcer. However, it remains uncertain whether the conditioning of three key behaviours in drug addiction-selective attention, instrumental drug-seeking behaviour and emotional state--are dependent upon contingency knowledge. To test this possibility, we employed an avoidance procedure to generate rapidly these three forms of conditioned behaviour without incurring the methodological problems of drug conditioning.

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Aug
2006

Cognitive decline is well recognized during ageing but is often accelerated in women after menopause. Studies have shown that there are significant gender differences in brain ageing with significantly greater changes in brain structure, function and metabolism between females and males. Estrogens exert protective effects on neuronal cells in culture but the exact underlying mechanism for their neuroprotective effect in humans is not completely understood.

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May
2006

It has been suggested that drug-paired stimuli (S+) control addictive behaviour by eliciting an explicit mental representation or expectation of drug availability.
The aim of the present study was to test this hypothesis by determining whether the behavioural control exerted by a tobacco-paired S+ in human smokers would depend upon the S+ eliciting an explicit expectation of tobacco.
In each trial, human smokers (n=16) were presented with stimuli for which attention was measured with an eyetracker.

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