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The EEG feature known as the Reward Positivity (RewP) is known to reflect a combination of the surprise and affective value of reward feedback. Here we investigated if individuals with Alcohol Use Disorder had an enhanced RewP to alcohol stimuli used as rewarding feedback, suggesting a mechanism for linking biased attention with reward integration for addiction-specific stimuli. Community participants aged 18-55 years are being recruited and demographically matched across the two groups: AUD (AUDIT>5) and Control (AUDIT<3). Participants completed a reinforcement learning task with affective stimuli as feedback while EEG was recorded. A 2*2 ANOVA was conducted to examine how affective image (puppies vs. alcohol) and group (AUD, CTL) influenced RewP amplitude. Preliminary results suggest that a main effect of group (p=.104) although there was no effect of affective imagery (p=.157) nor an interaction (p=.637). Overall, the findings suggest that AUD have larger reward positivity, but it does not appear to be modulated by alcohol conditions.


Acknowledgements: This research has been funded by the Grand Challenge Grant awarded to Dr. James F. Cavanagh (PI).

Poster presented at the Brain & Behavioral Health Research Day 2021



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