The addiction-stroop test: Theoretical considerations and procedural recommendations

Psychol Bull. 2006 May;132(3):443-76. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.132.3.443.


Decisions about using addictive substances are influenced by distractions by addiction-related stimuli, of which the user might be unaware. The addiction-Stroop task is a paradigm used to assess this distraction. The empirical evidence for the addiction-Stroop effect is critically reviewed, and meta-analyses of alcohol-related and smoking-related studies are presented. Studies finding the strongest effects were those in which participants had strong current concerns about an addictive substance or such concerns were highlighted through experimental manipulations, especially those depriving participants of the substance. Theories to account for addiction-related attentional bias are discussed, of which the motivational theory of current concerns appears to provide the most complete account of the phenomenon. Recommendations are made for maximizing the precision of the addiction-Stroop test in future research.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Affect*
  • Attention*
  • Health Planning Guidelines*
  • Humans
  • Memory
  • Psychological Theory*