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Thinking about the past and alcohol: the relationship between counterfactual thinking and alcohol use

Grant number: 19/25454-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2020
Effective date (End): August 31, 2021
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Psychology - Cognitive Psychology
Principal researcher:Patrícia Waltz Schelini
Grantee:Bruno Felipe Prado Santos
Home Institution: Centro de Educação e Ciências Humanas (CECH). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil


Counterfactual thinking is characterized in the formulation of different events for an event that has already occurred, being constantly linked to the expression "what if" and has an important adaptive function. This study aimed to: (1) investigate counterfactual thinking in alcohol-dependent people and those characterized by its acute use; (2) establish the frequency of counterfactual thinking in this population; (3) verify if there are differences between the type and amount of counterfactual thinking from the level of alcohol use; (4) identify the impact of alcohol dependence through counterfactual thoughts. For the elaboration of the material, a history taken from literature studies was selected and open questions were asked about the emergence of counterfactuals and four alternatives for modifying the course of history. The alternatives were based on aspects of reality most commonly modified by people, according to the concept of reality fault lines. The proposal for collection consists of the completion of an online form by 50 participants over the age of 18, who use alcohol at different levels for a first sample. The second sample will consist of 10 participants from the first sample and meeting the previously described criteria. The main assumptions for this research are that people with alcohol abuse have more counterfactuals due to the negative experiences they are facing, but these counterfactuals are less functional. Another hypothesis is that from counterfacts it is possible to investigate the impact of dependence on the life of the subject affected by addiction.

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