Social Cognitive and Addiction Neuroscience Lab (SCANlab)

October 2011

New NIH grant awarded to SCN Lab director Bruce Bartholow and colleagues will investigate neurocognitive mechanisms of the effects of alcohol advertising and marketing

Recent data indicate that exposure to televised alcohol advertising among U.S. adolescents increased 71% from 2001-2009 (CAMY, 2010). Although research suggests an association between exposure to alcohol advertising and youth drinking (Anderson et al., 2009), causal effects for such relations have yet to be identified. This project aims to investigate a potential causal mechanism for the effects of alcohol advertising and marketing on adolescents’ alcohol-related attitudes and behaviors. The over-arching hypothesis of this work is that alcohol advertising and marketing efforts affect basic motivational and attentional processes with known links to approach and consummatory behavior and related attitudes. We propose that, through changes in these basic processes, exposure to alcohol cues through advertising and marketing shapes alcohol-related attitudes and compels alcohol-seeking and use, and could influence the propensity for risk-taking behavior more generally. This general hypothesis will be investigated using a combined behavioral and psychophysiological approach in three sets of experiments conducted in the SCN lab and the PRIME lab (MU School of Journalism) at MU, and the Social Neuroscience Lab at the University of Colorado.