Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Trouble Quitting?: A New Pitt-Carnegie Mellon Smoking Study May Reveal Why

28.08.2008
A new study from researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University sheds light on why smokers' intentions to quit “cold turkey” often fizzle out within days or even hours.

If a smoker isn't yearning for a cigarette when he makes the decision to kick the habit-and most aren't-he isn't able to foresee how he will feel when he's in need of a nicotine buzz.

Published in the September issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, the study, “Exploring the Cold-to-Hot Empathy Gap in Smokers,” bolsters the theory that smokers not in a state of craving a cigarette will underestimate and underpredict the intensity of their future urge to smoke.

“We have observed previously that the idea of smoking a cigarette becomes increasingly attractive to smokers while they are craving,” said the study's lead investigator and University of Pittsburgh professor of psychology Michael Sayette. “This study suggests that when smokers are not craving, they fail to appreciate just how powerful their cravings will be. This lack of insight while not craving may lead them to make decisions-such as choosing to attend a party where there will be lots of smoking-that they may come to regret.”

The study looked at the cold-to-hot empathy gap-that is, the tendency for people in a “cold” state (not influenced by such visceral factors as hunger, fatigue) to mispredict their own behavior when in a “hot” state (hungry, fatigued), in part because they can't remember the intensity of their past cravings.

The researchers gathered 98 male and female smokers for two experimental sessions and placed them in one of three groups: “hot,” “cold,” and a comparison group. Those in a “hot” state were asked to abstain from smoking for 12 hours prior to Session 1 and then were induced to crave a cigarette by holding, but not smoking, a lit one.

Those in a “cold” state smoked up until Session 1 began and did not hold a lit cigarette. The comparison group did not attend Session 1.

During Session 1, “hot” and “cold” participants were asked to indicate the minimum amount of money they would need to delay smoking for five minutes in Session 2, when all participants would be in a “hot” state. Smokers in all three groups were required to abstain from smoking for 12 hours prior to Session 2 and would experience the lit cigarette cue described above.

During Session 2, when the subjects in all three groups were craving, they were given the chance to revise the amount of money they would need to delay smoking for five minutes. As expected, the “cold” smokers from Session 1 now significantly increased the amount of money they would need to delay smoking for just five minutes, while those originally in a “hot” state during Session 1 did not request an increase.

The study participants from the “cold” group were much less likely to accurately predict the amount of money they would need to put off lighting up. In fact, in Session 2, nearly half of the “cold” smokers requested an amount of money higher than what they had initially predicted, while only a quarter of the “hot” group did the same.

“These findings suggest that smokers are likely to underpredict their own future desire to smoke when they're not craving a cigarette,” said study coauthor George Loewenstein, the Herbert A. Simon Professor of Economics and Psychology at Carnegie Mellon.

“The research not only has implications for helping smokers quit, but it also enlightens us on how nonsmokers may pick up the habit. If smokers can't appreciate the intensity of their need to smoke when they aren't currently craving, what's the likelihood that people who have never smoked can do so,” said Loewenstein.

Founded in 1787, the University of Pittsburgh is an internationally renowned center for learning and research in the arts, sciences, humanities, professions, and health sciences, as well as a partner in regional development. The University offers approximately 400 distinct degree programs and confers 7,000 degrees annually. With 34,000 students and more than 12,000 faculty, research associates, and staff on five campuses, the University, a public institution of higher education, contributes $1.5 billion to the local economy and provides a wide range of programs and services for residents of Western Pennsylvania. Pitt is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, an organization of 62 preeminent doctorate-granting research institutions in the United States and Canada.

Carnegie Mellon is a private research university with a distinctive mix of programs in engineering, computer science, robotics, business, public policy, fine arts and the humanities. More than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students receive an education characterized by its focus on creating and implementing solutions for real problems, interdisciplinary collaboration, and innovation. A small student-to-faculty ratio provides an opportunity for close interaction between students and professors. While technology is pervasive on its 144-acre Pittsburgh campus, Carnegie Mellon is also distinctive among leading research universities for the world-renowned programs in its College of Fine Arts. A global university, Carnegie Mellon has campuses in Silicon Valley, Calif., and Qatar, and programs in Asia, Australia, and Europe.

Sharon Blake | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.pitt.edu

Further reports about: Smokers Smoking cigarette cold turkey nicotine buzz

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>