RationaleIncentive sensitisation theory (IST) claims that the mechanism of reward is comprised of separate neurobiological systems of wanting and liking, that dependent drug use occurs as a result of sensitisation of the system controlling wanting, and that the two systems can be dissociated.ObjectiveTo test the IST prediction that wanting and liking for alcohol can be dissociated in humans.MethodsMeasures of wanting and liking for alcohol were obtained in three experiments. Experiment 1 examined whether liking for alcohol was associated with levels of wanting, as indexed by self-reported weekly alcohol intake. Experiments 2 and 3 also assessed the association between liking and wanting but in these experiments wanting was also indexed by alcohol consumption in the laboratory. Experiment 2 increased wanting for alcohol using an alcohol priming dose to determine whether liking would be similarly affected. Experiment 3 reduced liking for alcohol by adulterating drinks with Tween to see whether wanting would also be reduced.ResultsLittle evidence for an association between liking and wanting for alcohol was found in Experiments 1–3 but, collapsing across all experiments, a weak positive correlation between liking and wanting was found. However, in Experiment 2, wanting was increased by the alcohol priming dose whereas liking was not and in Experiment 3 liking was reduced without a concurrent reduction in wanting.ConclusionsAlthough correlations between wanting and liking can be observed these results support the contention of the IST that wanting and liking for alcohol can be dissociated in human participants.