Attentional function and inhibitory control in different substance use disorders

James M. Bjork, Lori Keyser-Marcus, Jasmin Vassileva, Tatiana Ramey, David C. Houghton, F. Gerard Moeller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Attentional function in substance use disorder (SUD) is not well understood. To probe attentional function in SUD as a function of primary substance of abuse, we administered the attentional network task (ANT) to 44 individuals with Cocaine Use Disorder (CoUD), 49 individuals with Cannabis Use Disorder (CaUD), 86 individuals with Opioid Use Disorder (OUD), and 107 controls with no SUD, along with the stop-signal task (SST). The ANT quantifies the effects of (temporal) alerting cues and (spatial) orienting cues to reduce reaction time (RT) to targets, as well as probing how conflicting (target-incongruent) stimuli slow RT. The SST quantifies individuals’ ability to inhibit already-initiated motor responses. After controlling for sex representation and age, OUD and CaUD participants showed blunted alerting effects compared to controls, whereas CaUD and CoUD participants showed greater stimulus conflict (flanker) effects. Finally, CoUD participants showed a trend toward increased orienting ability. In SST performance, no SUD group showed a prolonged stop-signal reaction compared to controls. However, the OUD group (and CoUD group at trend level) showed prolonged “go” RT to targets and reduced hit rates. These data indicate differences in attentional function in persons with SUD as a function of the primary substance use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number114591
JournalPsychiatry Research
StatePublished - Jul 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Attention
  • Cannabis
  • Cocaine
  • Executive function
  • Impulsivity
  • Opioids
  • Substance use disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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