Findings of preserved implicit attention in methamphetamine dependent subjects

Ruth Salo, Martin H Leamon, Yutaka Natsuaki, Charles Moore, Christy Waters, Thomas E Nordahl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Long-term methamphetamine (MA) abuse is associated with a wide range of deficits on explicit tasks of selective attention. Less is known however about the effects of MA abuse on implicit measures of attention. Accordingly, we used a computerized spatial priming task to assess implicit attentional processes in 54 MA dependent subjects (mean age = 37.04 ± 8.9 years) and 32 healthy controls without history of any form of substance abuse (mean age = 33.63 ± 7.05 years). The MA dependent subjects had been drug-abstinent a minimum of 3 weeks with a mean duration of MA use of 13.27 ± 7.75 years. The MA dependent subjects did not differ significantly from controls on either inhibitory priming [p = .37] or facilitory priming) [p = .69]. This result comports with our earlier findings of intact object-based priming in MA dependent individuals and suggests that intact priming effects extend across spatial domains. Further, this pattern of sparing suggests that cortical brain systems typically supporting implicit attentional functioning are relatively intact in long-term MA dependent individuals whereas brain systems supporting explicit attentional processes are affected.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-223
Number of pages7
JournalProgress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008


  • Cognition
  • Methamphetamine
  • Priming
  • Selective attention
  • Stimulant abuse
  • Substance abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Pharmacology


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