Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science




General Psychology

Committee Chair

James Murphy

Committee Member

Phil Pavlik

Committee Member

Stephanie Huette


Behavioral economic research regarding alcohol use aims to understand how substance use becomes favored over other rewarding non-substance activities (Meshesha, Dennhardt, & Murphy, 2014). The present study investigated attentional bias as an objective index of the relative valuation of substance-related rewards versus substance-free rewards among college students categorized as either heavy or moderate drinkers. The primary goal of this study was to assess the relative valuation of alcohol-related and alcohol-free rewards using multiple behavioral methods, such as attentional bias for alcohol measured via eye-tracking device, subjective ratings of the pleasantness of alcohol-related and alcohol-free stimuli, and measurement of recent activit participation and enjoyment realted to alcohol-related versus alcohol-free activities. The current study tested the hypothesis that various relative reinforcing value indices are associated with each other, and with traditional measures of alochol severity (e.g., drinking quantity and frequency, alcohol-related problems, and DSM-5 alcohol use disorder symptoms). A Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient revealed no statistically significant relationships between the attentional bias indices and the other relative reinforcing value indices or the traditional measures of alcohol severity. However, a statistically significant negative correlation between craving and fixation on social, non-alcohol appetitive stimuli was found. Additionally, a repeated measures ANOVA indicated that there was no statistically significant relationship between drinking level and attentional bias for alcohol-related stimuli.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.