Sample Thesis Papers, Social Issues

Thesis: Drug addiction and cognition

Sample Thesis Paper

Studies have shown that attention towards drug related stimuli increases with the duration of drug use and the development of dependence. This leads to increased action tendencies to get alcohol, increased impulsive decision making and impaired inhibitory control over drives and behavior. (Field) It was concluded in another study that ‘Because drug stimuli produce conditioned responses that may motivate drug taking, biased attention toward these cues may play an important role in drug use and relapse following treatment.’ (Robbins) Various tools are present to investigate attentional bias but the most commonly used are the modified Stroop and the attentional probe tasks. There is uncertainty concerning if acute abstinence is associated with increased attentional bias and if the degree of addiction influences degree of bias.

Delving into the intricacies of cognition also reveals that there re two sub-levels to it, the lower one dealing with quick, inflexible, automatic process termed implicit cognition, and the higher explicit level which concerns slow, flexible actions that require thinking and judgement. In a way, it is a bit like Freud’s id and superego. An example of implicit cognition is the response towards an object that the subject is prejudiced towards. This response is automatic and instantaneous, involving the amygdala in the brain. The stronger the prejudice, higher is the amplitude of response in the amygdala. Explicit processing can be demonstrated through mentalisation, in which people can understand and predict the beliefs, intentions and desires of others. However it is little known if explicit processes build on implicit ones, or if they interact together—the explicit modulating the implicit. (Frith)

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