Visuospatial tasks suppress craving for cigarettes

May, Jon, Andrade, Jackie, Panabokke, Nathalie, & Kavanagh, David J. (2010) Visuospatial tasks suppress craving for cigarettes. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 48(6), pp. 476-485.

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The Elaborated Intrusion (EI) theory of desire posits that visual imagery plays a key role in craving. We report a series of experiments testing this hypothesis in a drug addiction context. Experiment 1 showed that a mental visual imagery task with neutral content reduced cigarette craving in abstaining smokers, but that an equivalent auditory task did not. The effect of visual imagery was replicated in Experiment 2, which also showed comparable effects of non-imagery visual working memory interference. Experiment 3 showed that the benefit of visual over auditory interference was not dependent upon imagery being used to induce craving. Experiment 4 compared a visuomotor task, making shapes from modeling clay, with a verbal task (counting back from 100), and again showed a benefit of the visual over the non-visual task.

We conclude that visual imagery supports craving for cigarettes. Competing imagery or visual working memory tasks may help tackle craving in smokers trying to quit.

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ID Code: 40379
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Cigarette Craving, Imagery, Brief Intervention, Cognition, Working Memory
DOI: 10.1016/j.brat.2010.02.001
ISSN: 0005-7967
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Health Clinical and Counselling Psychology (170106)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > COGNITIVE SCIENCE (170200) > Cognitive Science not elsewhere classified (170299)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Copyright Owner: Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd All rights reserved.
Deposited On: 01 Mar 2011 07:20
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 14:31

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