The efficacy of attention bias modification therapy in cocaine use disorders. Academic Article uri icon


  • Attentional bias (i.e., differences in reaction time between drug and neutral cues) has been associated with a variety of drug-use behaviors (e.g., craving, abstinence). Reduction of bias may ultimately reduce use.The current study examined whether attentional bias modification therapy (ABMT) reduced the frequency of drug use behaviors in individuals with cocaine use disorder (CUD).Participants (n = 37) were randomly assigned to ABMT or control therapy, which systematically varied how frequently probes replaced neutral (ABMT = 100%; control therapy = 50%) relative to drug stimuli. Each intervention included 5 training sessions comprising a total of 2640 trials over 4 weeks. Clinical assessments occurred at baseline, post-intervention, 2 weeks and 3 months posttreatment.There were no baseline differences between groups on drug-use behaviors or other clinical measures. Contrary to predictions, both groups exhibited slower rather than faster reaction times for cocaine stimuli (p = 0.005) at baseline, with no relationship between bias and baseline measures of drug-use behavior.ABMT was not more effective than our control therapy at reducing attentional bias, reducing craving or changing other drug use behaviors. Current results suggest additional replication studies are needed to assess ABMT's efficacy in reducing drug-use behaviors in CUD.

publication date

  • May 2016