Cognitive bias modification for energy drink cues

Eva Kemps, Marika Tiggemann, Mikaela Cibich, Aleksandra Cabala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
27 Downloads (Pure)


Energy drink consumption is increasing worldwide, especially among young adults, and has been associated with physical and mental health problems. In two experiments, we tested the prediction that energy drink consumption is in part driven by biased cognitive processing (attentional and approach biases), with a view to modifying these to reduce consumption. Young adults (18–25 years) who regularly consume energy drinks completed the dot probe (Exp.1; N = 116) or approach-avoidance task (Exp.2; N = 110) to measure attentional and approach bias for energy drink cues, respectively. They then underwent a cognitive bias modification protocol where they were trained to direct their attention away from pictures of energy drink cans (Exp.1), or to push a joystick away from themselves in response to these pictures (Exp.2). Following a post-training assessment of attentional (Exp.1) or approach bias (Exp.2), energy drink consumption was measured by an ostensible taste test. Regular energy drink consumers showed both an attentional and an approach bias for energy drink cues. Cognitive bias modification successfully reduced both biases. However, neither attentional nor approach bias modification significantly reduced energy drink intake. The results lend some support to incentive sensitisation theory which emphasises the role of biased decision-making processes related to addictive behaviours.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0226387
Number of pages16
JournalPLoS One
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

© 2019 Kemps et al. This is an open
access article distributed under the terms of the
Creative Commons Attribution License, which
permits unrestricted use, distribution, and
reproduction in any medium, provided the original
author and source are credited


  • energy drink consumption
  • mental health
  • physical health
  • cognitive bias modification
  • dot probe


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