School of Psychological Science

Postgraduate Profiles


Ross Hollett

Phone: (+61 8) 6488 8065

Start date

Mar 2010

Submission date

Apr 2012

Ross Hollett

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The Active Role of Alcohol Craving in Simulated Decision-Making


This study is investigating the influential role of alcohol craving on well established decision-making tasks. High-drinking undergraduates have been exposed to drinking cues in order to assess their reactivity and subsequent performance on computerized decision-making tasks. Since brain regions involved in both craving (reward processing) and decision-making overlap, the assumption is that cognitive resources may be limited when craving a psychoactive substance. If coupled with an assessment on decision-making tasks, there may be an interference or reduced ability to perform advantageously when resources are consumed with alcohol craving. Furthermore, this study has developed novel versions of two well-established tasks (the IGT and BART), that simulates access to alcohol and thus presents a more salient form of decision contingencies that is potentially related to real-life alcohol consumption processes.

Why my research is important

The research study aims to provide some understanding into how exposure to alcohol cues (i.e. advertising, peer use) can influence subsequent decisions and risk-orientated behaviour. This has wider implications for other drugs of abuse. However since alcohol is the only psychoactive substance still legally able to advertise, it presents a unique circumstance, whereby those that are afflicted are readily exposed to its appealing qualities which may affect subsequent behaviour.


  • The University of Western Australia Psychology department fully funds this study through allocated PhD allowance.


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