Laboratory paradigms of impulsivity and alcohol dependence: a review

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Publication Details

Author list: Jurado Barba R
Publisher: Karger Publishers
Publication year: 2011
Journal: European Addiction Research (1022-6877)
Volume number: 17
Issue number: 2
Start page: 64
End page: 71
Number of pages: 8
ISSN: 1022-6877
eISSN: 1421-9891
Languages: English-Great Britain (EN-GB)


Impulsivity can be defined as choosing a smaller, immediate reward over a
larger, delayed reward. From this perspective, addictive behaviors such
as substance abuse and pathological gambling reflect a series of
impulsive choices. However, impulsivity is not a homogeneous construct.
Laboratory measures of impulsivity reflect two types of processes. The
first is related to behavioral inhibition and refers to an individual's
ability to appropriately inhibit thoughts or actions. The second is the
delay of reward dimension, namely the degree to which immediate
(rewarding) consequences have more control over an individual's behavior
than consequences that are delayed. In this review, we describe how
alcohol is associated with significant impairments in these paradigms.
We also suggest that they may have a role in the development of alcohol
dependence. These results are in agreement with a model in which delay
of gratification might be a marker for early use and/or abuse of
alcohol, whereas impairment in behavioral inhibition might be a marker
for maintained use in time and, therefore, for progression towards
alcohol dependence.


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Last updated on 2019-13-08 at 00:45