Activation of Alcohol Expectancies in Memory in Relation to Limb of the Blood Alcohol Curve

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Attempts to understand the mechanism by which alcohol expectancies might influence drinking have related activation of expectancies in memory to alcohol use. Limb of the blood alcohol curve, however, has not been considered. In the present study, 527 undergraduates completed the Anticipated Biphasic Alcohol Effects Scale and a drinking measure. Multidimensional scaling was used to map expectancies into memory network format, and likely activation of expectancies was empirically modeled. Heavier drinkers were most likely to activate positive and arousing expectancies associated with the ascending limb, whereas lighter drinkers were most likely to activate negative and sedating expectancies associated with the descending limb. These findings add to the literature suggesting that activation of expectancies in memory may be an important determinant of drinking behavior and a promising target for intervention strategies.

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