Attentional Bias to Betel Quid Cues: An Eye Tracking Study

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The World Health Organization regards betel quid as a human carcinogen, and DSM–IV and ICD-10 dependence symptoms may develop with heavy use. This study, conducted in central Taiwan, investigated whether betel quid chewers can exhibit overt orienting to selectively respond to the betel quid cues. Twenty-four male chewers’ and 23 male nonchewers’ eye movements to betel-quid-related pictures and matched pictures were assessed during a visual probe task. The eye movement index showed that betel quid chewers were more likely to initially direct their gaze to the betel quid cues, t(23) = 3.70, p < .01, d = .75, and spent more time, F(1, 23) = 4.58, p < .05, ηp2 = .17, and were more fixated, F(1, 23) = 5.18, p < .05, ηp2 = .18, on them. The visual probe index (response time) failed to detect the chewers’ attentional bias. The current study provided the first eye movement evidence of betel quid chewers’ attentional bias. The results demonstrated that the betel quid chewers (but not the nonchewers) were more likely to initially direct their gaze to the betel quid cues, and spent more time and were more fixated on them. These findings suggested that when attention is directly measured through the eye tracking technique, this methodology may be more sensitive to detecting attentional biases in betel quid chewers.

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