Behaviour Research and Therapy vol:46 issue:10 pages:1160-1169
In two experiments, we used a Pavlovian differential conditioning procedure to induce craving for chocolate. As a result of repeated pairing with chocolate intake, initially neutral cues came to elicit an automatic approach tendency in a speeded stimulus-response compatibility reaction time task. This automatic approach tendency, moreover, seemed to be sensitive to manipulations of extinction and renewal in the Pavlovian conditioning procedure. These findings corroborate and extend previous reports of automatic approach tendencies elicited by substance-relevant cues in addiction, while controlling for alternative accounts for such observations. Moreover, our data lend support to and extend learning models of cue-induced craving and addiction. Finally, we argue that the procedure we present here provides an ecologically valid behavioural tool that allows studying processes involved in cue-induced craving, addiction and relapse without relying on verbal report.