This is a revised competing continuation application designed to follow-up on the major findings from our initial funding period and to investigate the cognitive and motivational mechanisms underlying behavioral disinhibition in early onset alcohol dependence (AD) and related co-morbid externalizing (EXT) and internalizing disorders. AD is a heterogeneous disorder with considerable variation in severity of symptoms, types and severity of co- morbid disorders, age of onset, and course. Research indicates a strong association between AD and various disinhibitory phenotypes, such as co-morbid EXT disorders, impulsive personality traits, and laboratory measures of behavioral disinhibition, which are associated with an early onset, more severe symptoms, and chronic course. However, much remains to be learned about the processes that contribute to, and explain the, (i) heterogeneity and co-morbidity in AD, and (ii) the specific mechanisms underlying behavioral disinhibition in AD and related EXT disorders. Several mechanisms contribute to behavioral disinhibition, yet we know little about how: 1. specific cognitive and motivational processes interact to affect poor decision-making, behavioral undercontrol, and specific decisions to drink in those with alcohol dependence, and 2. how these processes vary as a function of co-morbid psychopathology. Many studies of disinhibitory processes in AD are associational in nature, which limits our understanding of the specific mechanisms that contribute to self- regulatory deficits in those with AD. The proposed study uses a dimensional} factorial design to examine the impact of manipulating working memory load and reward magnitude on decision-making and behavioral inhibition in those with AD and EXT disorders. Utilizing manipulations of working memory load and reward magnitude is a more powerful approach to identifying the manner in which working memory, reward sensitivity, and punishment sensitivity interact and contribute to AD and EXT.
The first aim of this study is to use a dimensional model design to investigate disinhibitory processes associated with heterogeneity and co- morbidity of EXT in AD.
The second aim i s to more directly investigate the cognitive and motivational mechanisms underlying behavioral inhibition deficits in AD / EXT by directly manipulating WM load and magnitude of reward on different laboratory tasks.
The third aim i s to more directly assess the motivational /disinhibitory factors that influence decisions to drink in those with AD, and other EXT disorders. This study will build upon our knowledge of the mechanisms underlying impaired decision-making and behavioral disinhibition in those with AD and related EXT disorders problems. The project attempts to clarify the relevance of these mechanisms for decisions to drink in young adults, and shed light on the potential role that these mechanisms have in the heterogeneity in AD. Such knowledge will be valuable for the prevention and treatment of alcohol problems in young adults.

Public Health Relevance

This is a study of the cognitive and motivational mechanisms in alcohol dependence (AD) and related externalizing (EXT) disorders. The project will provide information about the specific mechanisms that contribute to AD and related EXT disorders, which will be valuable for prevention and treatment efforts.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Research Project (R01)
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Study Section
Adult Psychopathology and Disorders of Aging Study Section (APDA)
Program Officer
Witt, Ellen
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Indiana University Bloomington
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Dai, Junyi; Gunn, Rachel L; Gerst, Kyle R et al. (2016) A random utility model of delay discounting and its application to people with externalizing psychopathology. Psychol Assess 28:1198-1206
Lake, Allison J; Finn, Peter R; James, Thomas W (2016) Neural correlates of emotion reappraisal in individuals with externalizing psychopathology. Brain Imaging Behav :
Forster, Sarah E; Finn, Peter R; Brown, Joshua W (2016) A preliminary study of longitudinal neuroadaptation associated with recovery from addiction. Drug Alcohol Depend 168:52-60
Melby-Lervåg, Monica; Redick, Thomas S; Hulme, Charles (2016) Working Memory Training Does Not Improve Performance on Measures of Intelligence or Other Measures of ""Far Transfer"": Evidence From a Meta-Analytic Review. Perspect Psychol Sci 11:512-34
Redick, Thomas S; Shipstead, Zach; Wiemers, Elizabeth A et al. (2015) What's working in working memory training? An educational perspective. Educ Psychol Rev 27:617-633
Gunn, Rachel L; Finn, Peter R (2015) Applying a dual process model of self-regulation: The association between executive working memory capacity, negative urgency, and negative mood induction on pre-potent response inhibition. Pers Individ Dif 75:210-215
Alexander, William H; Fukunaga, Rena; Finn, Peter et al. (2015) Reward salience and risk aversion underlie differential ACC activity in substance dependence. Neuroimage Clin 8:59-71
Finn, Peter R; Gunn, Rachel L; Gerst, Kyle R (2015) The Effects of a Working Memory Load on Delay Discounting in Those with Externalizing Psychopathology. Clin Psychol Sci 3:202-214
Endres, Michael J; Donkin, Chris; Finn, Peter R (2014) An information processing/associative learning account of behavioral disinhibition in externalizing psychopathology. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol 22:122-32
Fridberg, Daniel J; Gerst, Kyle R; Finn, Peter R (2013) Effects of working memory load, a history of conduct disorder, and sex on decision making in substance dependent individuals. Drug Alcohol Depend 133:654-60

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