Visual Search Attentional Bias Modification Decreases the Attentional Bias for Facial Expression of Sadness and the Relapse Tendency in Abstinent Methamphetamine Drug Users

Qi WU, Jin-Yuan XIE, Li-Hong YANG, Ping ZHOU


Abstinent drug users were hypothesized to harbor attentional bias towards stimuli relevant to negative facial expressions. This study investigated the attentional bias hypothesis for abstinent methamphetamine users, as well as the effects of attentional bias modification on the attentional bias for facial expressions and its effects on relapse tendency in abstinent drug users. These possibilities were investigated by using the dot-probe paradigm and “find-the-smile” visual search paradigm in two different behavioral experiments. The results of Experiment 1 showed that abstinent methamphetamine users displayed significant attentional bias for the facial expression of sadness. The results of Experiment 2 showed that the visual search attentional bias training significantly increased the attentional bias for happy faces and decreased the attentional bias for sad faces in abstinent methamphetamine users. The research has also found that such a training program decreased the relapse tendency. These results indicate that the visual search attentional bias modification may be an effective behavioral intervention for methamphetamine users.


Abstinent Methamphetamine Users, Attentional Bias, Visual Search Training, Relapse


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