Background and objectives: Neurocognitive processes are key drivers of addictive and compulsive disorders. The current study examined whether reward-related attentional capture and cognitive inflexibility are associated with impulsive and/or compulsive personality traits, and whether these cognitive characteristics interact to predict greater compulsivity-related problems across obsessive-compulsive and drinking behaviors. Methods: One-hundred and seventy-three participants (mean age = 34.5 years, S.D = 8.4, 42% female) completed an online visual search task to measure reward-related attentional capture and its persistence following reversal of stimulus-reward contingencies. Participants also completed questionnaires to assess trait impulsivity, compulsivity, alcohol use, and obsessive-compulsive behaviors. Results: Greater reward-related attentional capture was associated with trait compulsivity, over and above all impulsivity dimensions, while greater cognitive inflexibility was associated with higher negative urgency (distress-elicited impulsivity). Reward-related attentional capture and cognitive inflexibility interacted to predict greater compulsivity-related problems among participants who reported obsessive-compulsive behaviors in the past month (n = 57) as well as current drinkers (n = 88). Follow-up analyses showed that, for OCD behaviors, this interaction was driven by an association between higher reward-related attentional capture and more problematic behaviors among cognitively inflexible participants only. For drinking, the same pattern was seen, albeit at trend level. Limitations: This study includes a non-clinical, online sample and is cross-sectional, thus its findings need to be interpreted with these limitations in mind. Conclusions: Reward-related attentional capture and cognitive flexibility are related to trait compulsivity and impulsivity (negative urgency) respectively, and interact to determine more problematic behaviors.
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 2020|
- Cognitive inflexibility
- Reward learning