Automatic affective responses to smoking cues.
The authors examined automatic emotional reactions to smoking cues among 35 smokers and 25 nonsmokers (32 women and 28 men), using a novel implicit measure, the Affect Misattribution Procedure. Associative-learning theories of addiction suggest that smokers develop positive responses to cues linked to the rewarding effects of nicotine. Prior research, however, has yielded mixed evidence for whether smokers have favorable or unfavorable automatic responses to smoking cues. These findings may depend on the methods used to measure implicit responses. Using the Affect Misattribution Procedure, the authors found that nonsmokers responded to smoking cues with clear negative affect, whereas smokers' responses depended on individual differences in current smoking withdrawal. Smokers having withdrawal symptoms and those most motivated to smoke showed favorable emotional responses to smoking cues, but those with no withdrawal or low motivation to smoke showed negative responses. These results help integrate previous studies finding that smokers have negative automatic responses to cigarettes with those studies finding that smokers' responses were relatively positive. The results are important for theories that emphasize the role of cue conditioning in maintaining addiction because these theories assume, consistent with the current findings, that smoking cues can take on positive reward value.
Payne, BK; McClernon, FJ; Dobbins, IG
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