Subscribe: Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology - Vol 17, Iss 6
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Preview: Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology - Vol 17, Iss 6

Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology - Vol 24, Iss 5

Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology seeks to promote the discipline of psychopharmacology in its fullest diversity. Psychopharmacology necessarily involves behavioral change, psychological processes, or their physiological substrates as one centr

Last Build Date: Fri, 28 Oct 2016 11:00:36 EST

Copyright: Copyright 2016 American Psychological Association

Frequent cannabis use is associated with reduced negative priming among females.


This study examined the relationship between cannabis use, sex, and attentional inhibition in a sample of 325 young Australians (194 women and 131 men) aged 14 to 24 years. Participants completed an online assessment, which included self-report measures of alcohol and other drug use, psychological distress, schizotypy, and location-based negative priming. Participants who had never used cannabis (n = 163) were compared with occasional (n = 118) and frequent (n = 44) cannabis users, with frequent use being defined as having used cannabis at least weekly in the past 6 months. There was a significant interaction between sex and cannabis use, with follow-up analyses indicating that frequent cannabis use was associated with reduced negative priming among females only. This study highlights the role of sex in influencing how cannabis use interacts with cognition and suggests that females who use cannabis frequently may be more likely than males to exhibit deficits in attentional inhibition. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Acute and chronic effects of cannabidiol on Δ⁹-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ⁹-THC)-induced disruption in stop signal task performance.


Recent clinical and preclinical research has suggested that cannabidiol (CBD) and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) have interactive effects on measures of cognition; however, the nature of these interactions is not yet fully characterized. To address this, we investigated the effects of Δ9-THC and CBD independently and in combination with proposed therapeutic dose ratios of 1:1 and 1:3 Δ9-THC:CBD in adult rhesus monkeys (n = 6) performing a stop signal task (SST). Additionally, the development of tolerance to the effects of Δ9-THC on SST performance was evaluated by determining the effects of acutely administered Δ9-THC (0.1–3.2 mg/kg), during a 24-day chronic Δ9-THC treatment period with Δ9-THC alone or in combination with CBD. Results indicate that Δ9-THC (0.032–0.32 mg/kg) dose-dependently decreased go success but did not alter go reaction time (RT) or stop signal RT (SSRT); CBD (0.1–1.0 mg/kg) was without effect on all measures and, when coadministered in a 1:1 dose ratio, did not exacerbate or attenuate the effects of Δ9-THC. When coadministered in a 1:3 dose ratio, CBD (1.0 mg/kg) attenuated the disruptive effects of 0.32 mg/kg Δ9-THC but did not alter the effects of other Δ9-THC doses. Increases in ED50 values for the effects of Δ9-THC on SST performance were apparent during chronic Δ9-THC treatment, with little evidence for modification of changes in sensitivity by CBD. These results indicate that CBD, when combined with Δ9-THC in clinically available dose ratios, does not exacerbate and, under restricted conditions may even attenuate, Δ9-THC’s behavioral effects. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Exposure to in vivo stimuli and attentional bias among female smokers.


Cross-sectional and experimental research has shown that female smokers use cigarettes to manage dietary restraint and body image dissatisfaction. The goal of this study was to investigate the cross-motivational impact of food and cigarettes by comparing attentional bias to smoking images against other images (food and jewelry) and testing how in vivo stimuli (cigarettes, food, and jewelry) affect attentional bias to these images. Thirty-five female smokers completed 3 image-viewing tasks during which they viewed images containing smoking, food, and jewelry pictorial stimuli. During these tasks, participants held smoking, food, or jewelry in vivo stimuli, and eye-tracking technology collected gaze data. We hypothesized that in vivo appetitive stimuli would produce attentional bias, with in vivo smoking stimuli increasing attention to smoking images and in vivo food stimuli increasing attention to smoking and food images. However, in vivo cigarettes and snack foods did not prime attentional biases to pictorial smoking or food stimuli. Yet, initial and maintained attention to smoking images were greater than attention to food and jewelry images when participants were administered an active comparison in vivo stimulus (jewelry). The results in this in vivo condition replicate previous research demonstrating attentional biases for smoking images among smokers, and they extend it by including the appetitive food comparison condition. These results also show that attention allocation changes when smokers encounter appetitive in vivo stimuli. Thus, this study demonstrates that establishing external validity in attentional bias research is challenging, and it encourages further psychometric exploration of such methodologies through other procedural manipulations. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Use of an automated mobile application to assess effects of nicotine withdrawal on verbal fluency: A pilot study.


Mild-to-moderate impairment in frontally mediated functions such as sustained attention, working memory, and inhibition have been found to occur during tobacco withdrawal and may present a barrier to successful cessation. These findings have led to studies evaluating cessation treatments that target nicotine withdrawal related cognitive impairment. The instruments currently used to assess cognitive function provide detailed and specific information but have limitations including being time consuming, cumbersome, anxiety provoking, and having poor ecological validity. The authors examined the feasibility of using a mobile computer application to test verbal fluency (VF) as a quick, easy-to-administer, and more ecologically valid method of measuring the effects of short-term smoking abstinence on frontally mediated cognitive functions. Thirty participants completed 2 assessments—1 during ad lib smoking and 1 after overnight abstinence. At each assessment, semantic and phonemic VF tests were administered using a mobile application and nicotine craving and withdrawal symptom severity was assessed. In repeated assessments, performance on both semantic and phonemic VF tests is expected to improve due to practice effects; however, significant improvements were observed only in semantic (p = .012) but not phonemic (p = .154) VF. In addition, the change between assessments in phonemic (but not semantic) score was significantly associated with withdrawal (p = .006) and craving (p = .037) severity measured postabstinence. This study demonstrates that nicotine withdrawal has differential effects on semantic versus phonemic VF suggesting impairments of working memory, attention, and inhibition. These effects were measured using methods easily used in large groups of participants, potentially with remote test administration and automated scoring. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Measurement of smoking behavior: Comparison of self-reports, returned cigarette butts, and toxicant levels.


A basic tenet of empirical research on cigarette smoking behavior is the systematic assessment of patterns of use. However, the large majority of extant research relies on smokers’ retrospective reports of their average number of cigarettes per day (CPD), a measure that may be variable in terms of reliability and validity. Using data from 3 previously published studies of non-treatment-seeking daily smokers (combined N = 89), this analysis examined the reliability of self-reported CPD, the consistency of returned cigarette butts each day over 4 consecutive 24-hr periods, the validity of self-reported CPD compared with returned cigarette butts, and the relationship of CPD and returned cigarette butts to toxicant exposure. Results showed that self-reported CPD was reliable across telephone and in-person screening interviews (r = .87, p < .01). Although average self-reported CPD and returned cigarette butt counts did not differ significantly, t(87) = −1.5 to 0.3, all ns, butt counts revealed a wider range of variability in daily smoking behavior. In addition, self-reported cigarette use exhibited substantial digit bias (Whipple’s index = 413.8), meaning that participants tended to round their estimates to values ending in 0 or 5. Cigarette butt counts, but not self-reported CPD, were significantly associated with exposure to smoke toxicants. However, this former relationship was revealed to be linear, but not curvilinear, in nature. These findings have implications for both research and treatment efforts, as researchers often rely on accurate assessment of CPD to predict a variety of smoking-related outcomes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Alcohol-approach inclinations and drinking identity as predictors of behavioral economic demand for alcohol.


Behavioral economic demand curve indices of alcohol consumption reflect decisions to consume alcohol at varying costs. Although these indices predict alcohol-related problems beyond established predictors, little is known about the determinants of elevated demand. Two cognitive constructs that may underlie alcohol demand are alcohol-approach inclinations and drinking identity. The aim of this study was to evaluate implicit and explicit measures of these constructs as predictors of alcohol demand curve indices. College student drinkers (N = 223, 59% female) completed implicit and explicit measures of drinking identity and alcohol-approach inclinations at 3 time points separated by 3-month intervals, and completed the Alcohol Purchase Task to assess demand at Time 3. Given no change in our alcohol-approach inclinations and drinking identity measures over time, random intercept-only models were used to predict 2 demand indices: Amplitude, which represents maximum hypothetical alcohol consumption and expenditures, and Persistence, which represents sensitivity to increasing prices. When modeled separately, implicit and explicit measures of drinking identity and alcohol-approach inclinations positively predicted demand indices. When implicit and explicit measures were included in the same model, both measures of drinking identity predicted Amplitude, but only explicit drinking identity predicted Persistence. In contrast, explicit measures of alcohol-approach inclinations, but not implicit measures, predicted both demand indices. Therefore, there was more support for explicit, versus implicit, measures as unique predictors of alcohol demand. Overall, drinking identity and alcohol-approach inclinations both exhibit positive associations with alcohol demand and represent potentially modifiable cognitive constructs that may underlie elevated demand in college student drinkers. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Daily relations among affect, urge, targeted naltrexone, and alcohol use in young adults.


Heavy drinking among young adults is a serious public health problem. Naltrexone, an opioid antagonist, has been shown to reduce drinking in young adults compared to placebo and can be taken on a targeted (i.e., as needed) basis. Understanding risk factors for drinking and naltrexone effects within-person in young adults may help to optimize the use of targeted naltrexone. The current study was a secondary analysis of daily diary data from 127 (n = 40 female) young adults (age 18–25) enrolled in a double-blind clinical trial of daily (25 mg) plus targeted (25 mg) naltrexone versus placebo. Hierarchical linear models were used to examine the effects of daily affect, urge, and taking targeted medication on same-day risk of drinking to intoxication (defined as estimated blood-alcohol-concentration, BAC ≥ .08 g%). Results indicated urge significantly mediated within-person positive affect–drinking relations on a daily level. Specifically, positive affect was associated with greater urge to drink, which in turn was associated with greater odds of BAC ≥ .08 g%. Furthermore, days of greater positive affect and urge were associated with taking a targeted dose of medication, which reduced the likelihood of intoxication by nearly 23% in the naltrexone group compared to placebo. Gender and family history of alcohol dependence were examined as moderators of these daily level effects. These results provide further evidence of naltrexone’s ability to reduce alcohol consumption in young adults and identify potential within-person risk processes related to heavy drinking that could inform alcohol-related interventions for this population. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Alternative and complementary reinforcers as mechanisms linking adolescent conduct problems and substance use.


The present study tested the hypothesis that teens who engage in conduct problems are more likely to use substances because they engage in fewer alternative reinforcing (i.e., pleasurable) substance-free activities and more complementary reinforcing substance-associated activities. In a cross-sectional, correlational design, 9th grade students (N = 3,383; mean age = 14.6 years) in Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. completed surveys in 2013 measuring conduct problems (e.g., stealing, lying, getting in fights); alternative and complementary reinforcement; use of a number of licit, illicit, and prescription drugs; and other cofactors. Conduct problems were positively associated with past 6-month use of any substance (yes/no) among the overall sample and past 30-day use frequency on a composite index that included 6 substances among past 6-month users. These associations were statistically mediated by diminished alternative reinforcement and increased complementary reinforcement when adjusting for relevant covariates. Conduct problems were associated with lower engagement in alternative reinforcers and increased engagement in complementary reinforcers, which, in turn, were associated with greater likelihood and frequency of substance use. Most mediational relations persisted adjusting for demographic, environmental, and intrapersonal cofactors and generalized to alcohol, cigarette, and marijuana use, although, complementary reinforcers did not significantly mediate the relation of conduct problems with alcohol use frequency. These results point to diminished alternative reinforcement and increased complementary reinforcement as mechanisms linking conduct problems and adolescent substance use. Interventions that increase access to and engagement in a diverse set of alternative substance-free activities and deter activities that complement use may prevent substance use in adolescents who engage in conduct problems. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Initial feasibility and validity of a prospective memory training program in a substance use treatment population.


Individuals with substance use disorders have shown deficits in the ability to implement future intentions, called prospective memory. Deficits in prospective memory and working memory, a critical underlying component of prospective memory, likely contribute to substance use treatment failures. Thus, improvement of prospective memory and working memory in substance use patients is an innovative target for intervention. We sought to develop a feasible and valid prospective memory training program that incorporates working memory training and may serve as a useful adjunct to substance use disorder treatment. We administered a single session of the novel prospective memory and working memory training program to participants (n = 22; 13 men, 9 women) enrolled in outpatient substance use disorder treatment and correlated performance to existing measures of prospective memory and working memory. Generally accurate prospective memory performance in a single session suggests feasibility in a substance use treatment population. However, training difficulty should be increased to avoid ceiling effects across repeated sessions. Consistent with existing literature, we observed superior performance on event-based relative to time-based prospective memory tasks. Performance on the prospective memory and working memory training components correlated with validated assessments of prospective memory and working memory, respectively. Correlations between novel memory training program performance and established measures suggest that our training engages appropriate cognitive processes. Further, differential event- and time-based prospective memory task performance suggests internal validity of our training. These data support the development of this intervention as an adjunctive therapy for substance use disorders. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Prescription stimulant medication misuse: Where are we and where do we go from here?


Prescription stimulants, including methylphenidate (e.g., Ritalin) and amphetamine compounds (e.g., dextroamphetamine; Adderall), have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and are classified by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration as Schedule II medications because of their high potential for abuse and dependence (Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Department of Justice, 2015). Despite the potential health and judicial consequences, misuse of prescription stimulants, typically defined as taking stimulants without a valid prescription, or use of stimulants other than as prescribed, has become a serious problem in the United States and abroad, especially on college campuses. The purpose of the present article is to review historical information concerning prescription stimulants and to summarize the literature with respect to misuse among adults, particularly college students, including risk factors, mediators and moderators, and motivations for prescription stimulant misuse. In addition, evidence is presented concerning the question of whether prescription stimulants truly enhance cognitive functioning in individuals with and without ADHD, and the ethical and professional implications of these findings are explored. Lastly, recommendations for addressing prescription stimulant misuse and suggestions for future research are advanced. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)