Effects of attentional bias modification therapy on the cue reactivity and cognitive control networks in participants with cocaine use disorders

Andrew R. Mayer, Andrew B. Dodd, Claire E. Wilcox, Stefan D. Klimaj, Eric D. Claus, Angela D. Bryan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: While attentional bias modification therapy (ABMT) alters drug-related behaviors in some substance users, results have been mixed in individuals with cocaine use disorders (CUD). Objectives: The current study examined whether ABMT affected brain functioning during independent measures of cue reactivity (i.e., cocaine versus food cues) and cognitive control (i.e., incongruent versus congruent trials), and whether brain activity was associated with baseline or post-intervention cocaine use. Methods: 37 participants (62% male) were randomly assigned to ABMT or control therapy. Clinical and neuroimaging assessments occurred at baseline and immediately post-intervention, with additional clinical testing at 2 weeks and 3 months following intervention. Cocaine use was assessed through self-report. Results: Slower reaction times and increased functional activation (prefrontal cortex, posterior parietal cortex) were observed for incongruent versus congruent stimuli and increased functional activation for cocaine relative to food videos (ventral striatum, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and orbitofrontal cortex). The default-mode network (DMN) was not deactivated during exposure to cocaine videos. The degree of activation during cocaine relative to food cues was associated with baseline cocaine use (insula only) and reduction in use following treatment (insula and anterior DMN) above and beyond clinical variables. Cognitive control network activity was not associated with cocaine use at baseline or following treatment. ABMT therapy did not differentially affect cocaine use or functional activation during either task. Conclusion: Current results suggest a relationship between cue reactivity network activation and cocaine use, but question the efficacy of ABMT in changing brain function during cue reactivity or cognitive control tasks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)357-367
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 3 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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