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Title: Variations in the visual probe paradigms for attention bias modification for substance use disorders
Authors: Zhang, Melvyn
Fung, Daniel Shuen Sheng
Smith, Helen
Keywords: Science::Medicine
Issue Date: 2019
Source: Zhang, M., Fung, D. S. S., & Smith, H. (2019). Variations in the visual probe paradigms for attention bias modification for substance use disorders. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16(18), 3389-. doi:10.3390/ijerph16183389
Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Abstract: Advances in experimental psychology have provided evidence for the presence of attentional and approach biases in individuals with substance use disorders. Traditionally, reaction time tasks, such as the Stroop or the Visual Probe Task, are commonly used in the assessment of attention biases. The Visual Probe Task has been criticized for its poor reliability, and other research has highlighted that variations remain in the paradigms adopted. However, a gap remains in the published literature, as there have not been any prior studies that have reviewed stimulus timings for different substance use disorders. Such a review is pertinent, as the nature of the task might affect its effectiveness. The aim of this paper was in comparing the different methods used in the Visual Probe Task, by focusing on tasks that have been used for the most highly prevalent substance disorders-that of opiate use, cannabis use and stimulant use disorders. A total of eight published articles were identified for opioid use disorders, three for cannabis use disorders and four for stimulant use disorders. As evident from the synthesis, there is great variability in the paradigm adopted, with most articles including only information about the nature of the stimulus, the number of trials, the timings for the fixation cross and the timings for the stimulus set. Future research examining attentional biases among individuals with substance use disorders should take into consideration the paradigms that are commonly used and evaluate the optimal stimulus and stimulus-onset asynchrony timings.
ISSN: 1661-7827
DOI: 10.3390/ijerph16183389
Rights: © 2019 The Authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:LKCMedicine Journal Articles

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