Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Hidden cues that make smokers light up

15.01.2004


Smokers trying to kick the habit for 2004 are probably finding it much harder than they expected. New research by University of Sussex psychologists reveals that smokers subconsciously react to all sorts of visual cues that encourage them to light up.

It’s not just the obvious sight or smell of a cigarette that sparks off the behaviour. The researchers found that neutral images can also set off the craving.

“The implication of these findings is that cures for smoking should be focussing on ways to control a person’s reaction to cues that signal the availability of cigarettes,” says Dr Lee Hogarth, who carried out the research with Dr Theodora Duka and Dr Anthony Dickinson. “In particular, treatments should attempt to block the capacity of the stimulus to grab the smoker’s attention.”



Previous research has shown that smokers engage in smoking behaviour when they see something or someone that indicates cigarettes are available. They are also faster at identifying smoking related words than neutral words and have a better visual memory for smoking-related stimuli.

The Sussex team, whose research was published in the journal Psychopharmacology, set up an experiment that involved showing smokers two patterns at random on a computer screen. One pattern (S+) led to the smoker being able to take two puffs of a cigarette. The other pattern (S-) would elicit instructions to blow into a carbon monoxide monitor.

In a later stage of the experiment smokers were presented with the two patterns together. By monitoring the smokers’ visual response, it was found that the smokers paid more attention to the S+ pattern – which had previously given them access to tobacco - than the S- pattern. At the same time, a skin conductance test also revealed that physiological changes took place in smokers when the S+ pattern was shown.

Dr Duka, whose work has also involved looking at alcohol and drug addiction, says; “One way to help people cure their addiction is to do a reverse of this – to create thought-blocking to prevent the smoker from paying attention to the stimulus. We could probably set up something in a laboratory, but it would be extremely hard to do this beyond a laboratory setting where there are any number of different visual cues.”

Jacqui Bealing | alfa
Further information:
http://www.sussex.ac.uk

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Amazingly flexible: Learning to read in your thirties profoundly transforms the brain
26.05.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Kognitions- und Neurowissenschaften

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement

26.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Smooth propagation of spin waves using gold

26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Switchable DNA mini-machines store information

26.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>