Date Awarded

Spring 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.Sc.)




Adrian J. Bravo

Committee Member

Cheryl L. Dickter

Committee Member

Catherine A. Forestell


The present study aimed to examine several research questions related to alcohol craving, state mindfulness, and response inhibition in binge drinking college students who do and do not use cannabis. Before and after listening to a mindfulness or a control audio clip, participants (N = 30) completed a cued Go/NoGo task. EEG activity was measured throughout, and alcohol craving was assessed before and after each task. We examined whether P300 amplitude would differ as a function of the within-subjects variables Block (1 vs. 2), Target (Go vs. NoGo), and Cue (Alcohol vs. Neutral) of each task. We also examined if P300 amplitudes to alcohol cues would be affected by craving for alcohol and/or a short mindfulness induction, and whether craving for alcohol would be affected by a short mindfulness induction.

Results were in partial alignment with previous literature, showing larger amplitude P300 ERPs for alcohol compared to neutral stimuli. Counter to previous work, however, this occurred in Go rather than NoGo trials. Craving was not found to be involved in the relationship. Additionally, time point of craving and audio manipulation were found to interact such that craving immediately after the audio manipulation (relative to immediately before) was reduced in both groups, but to a greater extent in the mindfulness compared to control group. Exploratory analyses related to cannabis use did not provide evidence that concurrent alcohol and cannabis use were associated with P300 amplitudes.

In conclusion, recent research suggests that neural measures of response inhibition, like the P300 ERP, may be useful for identifying and tracking changes in functional responses to substance use-related stimuli. P300 ERPs show potential for advancing the identification, understanding, and treatment of addictive behaviors related to alcohol and other drugs. Going forward, research should examine how mindfulness may be associated with inhibition-related processing of substance use-related stimuli, especially in populations with greater levels of craving and craving variability. Significant study limitations are identified and discussed.



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