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Selective attention to smoking cues in former smokers

Selective attention to smoking cues in former smokers
Selective attention to smoking cues in former smokers

Repeated drug use modifies the emotional and cognitive processing of drug-associated cues. These changes are supposed to persist even after prolonged abstinence. Several studies demonstrated that smoking cues selectively attract the attention of smokers, but empirical evidence for such an attentional bias among successful quitters is inconclusive. Here, we investigated whether attentional biases persist after smoking cessation. Thirty-eight former smokers, 34 current smokers, and 29 non-smokers participated in a single experimental session. We used three measures of attentional bias for smoking stimuli: A visual probe task with short (500. ms) and long (2000. ms) picture stimulus durations, and a modified Stroop task with smoking-related and neutral words. Former smokers and current smokers, as compared to non-smokers, showed an attentional bias in visual orienting to smoking pictures in the 500. ms condition of the visual probe task. The Stroop interference index of smoking words was negatively related to nicotine dependence in current smokers. Former smokers and mildly dependent smokers, as compared to non-smokers, showed increased interference by smoking words in the Stroop task. Neither current nor former smokers showed an attentional bias in maintained attention (2000. ms visual probe task). In conclusion, even after prolonged abstinence smoking cues retain incentive salience in former smokers, who differed from non-smokers on two attentional bias indices. Attentional biases in former smokers operate mainly in early involuntary rather than in controlled processing, and may represent a vulnerability factor for relapse. Therefore, smoking cessation programs should strengthen self-control abilities to prevent relapses.

Abstinence, Attentional bias, Cue reactivity, Nicotine dependence, Smoking cessation
0924-977X
Rehme, Anne K.
9a4f359d-c2bb-4e61-883e-44f4e807437b
Bey, Katharina
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Frommann, Ingo
2bf134de-6f5f-4670-bd7f-c4f8fee4bf68
Mogg, Karin
5f1474af-85f5-4fd3-8eb6-0371be848e30
Bradley, Brendan P.
bdacaa6c-528b-4086-9448-27ebfe463514
Bludau, Julia
88016150-2f2a-444b-bfa9-b0444a9567d4
Block, Verena
8b41d0e3-a61d-4f52-90c9-b3d4e805df04
Sträter, Birgitta
9b682ea6-0789-4cb4-91c5-3a45934f0a13
Schütz, Christian G.
9e15982a-dbbe-413a-9c5f-5a57dab1168b
Wagner, Michael
b1db4f29-c6dc-444b-b750-5f6a7afcfab7
Rehme, Anne K.
9a4f359d-c2bb-4e61-883e-44f4e807437b
Bey, Katharina
7e14bb5b-c0d7-4721-b29d-0565e06f342f
Frommann, Ingo
2bf134de-6f5f-4670-bd7f-c4f8fee4bf68
Mogg, Karin
5f1474af-85f5-4fd3-8eb6-0371be848e30
Bradley, Brendan P.
bdacaa6c-528b-4086-9448-27ebfe463514
Bludau, Julia
88016150-2f2a-444b-bfa9-b0444a9567d4
Block, Verena
8b41d0e3-a61d-4f52-90c9-b3d4e805df04
Sträter, Birgitta
9b682ea6-0789-4cb4-91c5-3a45934f0a13
Schütz, Christian G.
9e15982a-dbbe-413a-9c5f-5a57dab1168b
Wagner, Michael
b1db4f29-c6dc-444b-b750-5f6a7afcfab7

Rehme, Anne K., Bey, Katharina, Frommann, Ingo, Mogg, Karin, Bradley, Brendan P., Bludau, Julia, Block, Verena, Sträter, Birgitta, Schütz, Christian G. and Wagner, Michael (2018) Selective attention to smoking cues in former smokers European Neuropsychopharmacology (doi:10.1016/j.euroneuro.2017.12.003).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Repeated drug use modifies the emotional and cognitive processing of drug-associated cues. These changes are supposed to persist even after prolonged abstinence. Several studies demonstrated that smoking cues selectively attract the attention of smokers, but empirical evidence for such an attentional bias among successful quitters is inconclusive. Here, we investigated whether attentional biases persist after smoking cessation. Thirty-eight former smokers, 34 current smokers, and 29 non-smokers participated in a single experimental session. We used three measures of attentional bias for smoking stimuli: A visual probe task with short (500. ms) and long (2000. ms) picture stimulus durations, and a modified Stroop task with smoking-related and neutral words. Former smokers and current smokers, as compared to non-smokers, showed an attentional bias in visual orienting to smoking pictures in the 500. ms condition of the visual probe task. The Stroop interference index of smoking words was negatively related to nicotine dependence in current smokers. Former smokers and mildly dependent smokers, as compared to non-smokers, showed increased interference by smoking words in the Stroop task. Neither current nor former smokers showed an attentional bias in maintained attention (2000. ms visual probe task). In conclusion, even after prolonged abstinence smoking cues retain incentive salience in former smokers, who differed from non-smokers on two attentional bias indices. Attentional biases in former smokers operate mainly in early involuntary rather than in controlled processing, and may represent a vulnerability factor for relapse. Therefore, smoking cessation programs should strengthen self-control abilities to prevent relapses.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 2 December 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 19 January 2018
Published date: February 2018
Keywords: Abstinence, Attentional bias, Cue reactivity, Nicotine dependence, Smoking cessation

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 417500
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/417500
ISSN: 0924-977X
PURE UUID: 0bbf89af-01c7-40f1-af35-43b857bdab8f

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Date deposited: 01 Feb 2018 17:30
Last modified: 13 Feb 2018 17:30

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Contributors

Author: Anne K. Rehme
Author: Katharina Bey
Author: Ingo Frommann
Author: Karin Mogg
Author: Julia Bludau
Author: Verena Block
Author: Birgitta Sträter
Author: Christian G. Schütz
Author: Michael Wagner

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