Investigating how bottom-up and top-down systems relate to alcohol use and alcohol use disorder
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Throughout the field of psychology, there has been increasing interest in dual-systems models of explaining behavior. Specifically, these models propose that behaviors is due to a bottom-up, emotional system (e.g., reactions to immediate pleasant or aversive events) and a top-down, cognitive system (e.g., the ability to plan for long-term goals). The current project examined whether these two systems are in fact separate risk factors for alcohol use disorder. Specifically, the studies investigated whether a preference for alcohol's effects and self-control account for the same genetic and developmental risk in alcohol use and alcohol use disorder. These studies found little evidence for self-control as a distinct risk factor, apart from sensitivity to reward specific to alcohol or more general to risky behavior.