Bringing the real world into the laboratory: personal smoking and nonsmoking environments.
Pictorial representations of specific environments related to smoking can evoke robust craving to smoke, even in the absence of any proximal cues to smoke (e.g., cigarettes, lighters). To evaluate the salience of smoking environment cues, we developed a novel procedure for bringing smokers' real world smoking and nonsmoking environments into the laboratory to compare them with standard (i.e., not personalized) environments within a cue-reactivity paradigm. Seventy-two smokers used digital cameras to take pictures of the environments in which they do and do not smoke. They then completed a cue-reactivity session during which they viewed and rated pictures of smoking and nonsmoking environments, half personal and half standard, all devoid of proximal smoking cues. As hypothesized, personal environments led to a significantly larger smoking-nonsmoking difference in craving, compared with the standard environments. Personalization also enhanced stimuli vividness, relevance, positive affect, and excitement, as well as heart rate changes from baseline. Implications of these findings for exposure-based research and treatment for addiction, as well as other psychological disorders, are discussed.
Conklin, CA; Perkins, KA; Robin, N; McClernon, FJ; Salkeld, RP
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