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Addictive Behaviors Laboratory

Principal Investigator: Dr. Alison Looby



Research Focus

My laboratory broadly examines substance use behaviors, with a focus on college student alcohol, marijuana, and stimulant use. Much of our research aims to examine and subsequently modify cognitive mechanisms underlying substance use, including expectancy effects, motives, and neuropsychological functioning. Research in my laboratory tends to be experimental and laboratory-based, though we are also employing some naturalistic methodology. Selected recent research studies in my laboratory include:

-An examination of the interactive effects of working memory depletion, negative affect, and negative urgency on ad lib drinking

-An examination of subjective mood and neuropsychological performance as a function of stimulant type and expectancy

-An event-level examination of the impact of alcohol use, drinking motives, and environmental cues on likelihood of risky sexual behavior

-A randomized, controlled trial to test the efficacy of a combined expectancy modification and harm reduction intervention to prevent nonmedical prescription stimulant use among at-risk college students

-An examination of the interactive effect of cue exposure duration and behavioral activation sensitivity on craving for and attentional bias toward alcohol

Recent Grant Funding:

Preventing Prescription Stimulant Diversion and Medication Misuse Via a Web-Based Simulation Intervention
National Institute on Drug Abuse
Role: Co-I (PI Laura Holt, Trinity College; Co-I Ty Schepis, Texas State University)
7/2020 -7/2023

Efficacy of Expectancy Challenges to Prevent Nonmedical Prescription Stimulant Use
Wyoming INBRE, National Institute of General Medical Sciences
Role: PI
5/2018 - 4/2020

Lab Members:

Alison Looby

Alison Looby, PhD

Dr. Looby grew up in southern California and earned her BA in psychology from the University of California, San Diego in 2002. She earned her PhD in clinical psychology from the University at Albany, SUNY in 2011. After spending some time teaching at the University of North Dakota, Dr. Looby joined the faculty at the University of Wyoming in 2016. Her primary research focus is with regard to nonmedical prescription stimulant use among college students and understanding factors related to use, including placebo effects, expectancy effects, and neuropsychological functioning. Dr. Looby spends her free time with her family (including 2 young children and great dane) and enjoys hiking, snowboarding, and traveling.


Lauren ZimmermanLauren Zimmerman, 4th year graduate student

Lauren was born and raised in west central Minnesota before obtaining her BA in psychology from the University of North Dakota in 2014. She is currently a 4th year graduate student in the Clinical Psychology PhD Program at the University of Wyoming. Her broad research interests include factors related to substance use (e.g., motives, self-efficacy, expectancy effects) and intervention and prevention efforts to decrease use.  Lauren enjoys sports, spending time with family and friends, and traveling in her free time.




 caitlin falcoCaitlin Falco, 3rd year graduate student

Cait was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago before earning her B.S. in Psychology from Indiana University Bloomington in 2016. She is now a 3rd year graduate student in the Clinical Psychology PhD Program at the University of Wyoming. Her research interests include understanding the mechanisms (e.g., executive functions, motives, attention) underlying substance use and how to target these mechanisms to reduce and/or prevent substance use, as well as how these factors are related to other risky/externalizing behaviors. In her free time, Cait can usually be found with her dog.



Nick Livingston

 Nick Livingston, 2nd year graduate student

Nick was born and raised in Oregon's Willamette Valley before earning his BS in psychology from the University of Oregon in 2017. He is currently a 2nd year graduate student in the Clinical Psychology PhD Program at the University of Wyoming. His research interests involve understanding factors implicated in substance use initiation, the interplay between sleep and substance use, consequences of substance use (e.g., cognitive performance, subjective effects, mood), and how drug use can be modified through targeted interventions. During his free time, Nick enjoys the company of family, snowboarding, and traveling.




Lab Alumni:

-Tess Kilwein, PhD: Psychologist, University of Wyoming Counseling Center

Recent and Representative Publications

Looby, A., Cleveland, C. S., Zimmerman, L.*, & Hartung, C. M. (in press). ADHD symptoms and sex moderate the relation between protective behavioral strategies and alcohol use among treatment-mandated college students. Behavioral Medicine.

Holt, L. J., Schepis, T. S., Looby, A., Marut, P. N., Marsh, E., & Feinn, R. (in press). How to say “No” most effectively: Evaluating resistance strategies for prescription stimulant requests. Journal of American College Health.

Looby, A., Bravo, A. J., Kilwein, T. M.*, Zimmerman, L.*, Pearson, M. R., & Protective Strategies Study Team. (2019). Protective behavioral strategies mediate the relationship between drinking motives and risky sexual behaviors in college students. Addictive Behaviors, 93, 1-8.  

Thiel, A., Kilwein, T. M.*, De Young, K. P., & Looby, A. (2019). Differentiating motives for nonmedical prescription stimulant use by personality characteristics. Addictive Behaviors, 88, 187-193.

Looby, A., Norton-Baker, M.*, & Russell, T. (2018). Interactive effects of baseline executive functioning and working memory depletion on alcohol use among heavy drinking young adults. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 26, 341-346.  

 Looby, A., & Sant'Ana, S.* (2018). Nonmedical prescription stimulant users experience subjective but not objective impairments in inattention and impulsivity. The American Journal on Addictions, 27, 238-244.

 Kilwein, T. M.*, & Looby, A. (2018). Predicting risky sexual behaviors among college student drinkers as a function of event-level drinking motives and alcohol use. Addictive Behaviors, 76, 100-105.

 Kilwein, T. M.*, Kern, S.*, & Looby, A. (2017). Interventions for alcohol-related risky sexual behaviors among college students: A systematic review. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 31, 944-950.

 Looby, A., Luger, E. J.*, & Guartos, C. S.* (2017). Positive expectancies mediate the link between race and alcohol use in a sample of Native American and Caucasian college students. Addictive Behaviors, 73, 53-56.

 Kilwein, T. M.*, Goodman, E. L., Looby, A., & De Young, K. P. (2016). Nonmedical prescription stimulant use for suppressing appetite and controlling body weight is uniquely associated with more severe eating disorder symptomatology. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 49, 813-816.

 Looby, A., De Young, K.P., & Earleywine, M. (2013). Challenging expectancies to prevent nonmedical prescription stimulant use: A randomized, controlled trial. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 132, 362-368.

 Looby, A., & Earleywine, M. (2011). Expectation to receive methylphenidate enhances subjective arousal but not cognitive performance. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 19, 433-444.

*Denotes student author under my supervision

Prospective Graduate Students:

Dr. Looby will be reviewing applications for graduate students wishing to apply to the Addictive Behaviors Laboratory at UW for Fall 2021. You are encouraged to email Dr. Looby regarding your intention to apply.

Alison Looby

Contact Us

Department of Psychology

1000 E University Ave.

Dept. 3415

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: 307-766-6303

1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
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