Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Committee Chair

James Murphy

Committee Member

Nicholas W Simon

Committee Member

Deranda B Lester

Committee Member

Jeffery J Sable


According to behavioral economics, alcohol consumption is most likely when alcohol is overvalued relative to alternatives and when the individual steeply discounts delayed rewards. Recent studies exploring electrophysiological models of reward suggest there may be specific event-related potentials (ERPs) associated with behavioral economic constructs, namely, the P3 (a proposed marker of incentive salience) and RewP (a marker of the amplitude of response to reward). Although some studies suggest the P3 may be associated with alcohol use, none have disaggregated social influences in the context of alcohol cue reactivity. Further, no study has explored the effect of delay to reward receipt on RewP amplitude among heavy drinking young adults. The current study recruited heavy drinking young adults (N = 23) to complete behavioral economic (alcohol demand, alternative reinforcement, and delayed reward discounting) and drinking measures (typical drinks per week), in addition to an electroencephalography (EEG) session in which the participants completed a 2 (social/nonsocial) x 2 (alcohol/nonalcohol) oddball task, an immediate doors task, and a delayed doors task. In multilevel models controlling for sex assigned at birth, race, and college status, there were no significant differences between oddball conditions or between immediate and delayed RewP amplitudes. However, those who consumed more alcohol in a typical week had reduced P3 response to non-social, compared to social, images. Further, all three alcohol demand indices interacted with the alcohol condition, such that higher demand was associated with reduced P3 amplitude for alcohol, compared to nonalcohol images. Further, there was a three-way interaction between delayed reward discounting, feedback type, and time to reward receipt condition, such that there were no differences in RewP for negative and positive feedback across both delayed and immediate conditions, but among those with steep delayed discounting, RewP magnitude for immediate gains was greater than RewP magnitude for delayed gains. The results highlight a brain-behavior connection which may be important marker for alcohol use across units of analysis and may be sensitive to changes in the economic choice contexts that influence the likelihood of alcohol consumption.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest


Embargoed until 6/21/2024

Available for download on Friday, June 21, 2024