Cigarette cues capture attention of smokers and never-smokers, but for different reasons

Drug and Alcohol Dependence
Menton M DeweeseFrancesco Versace


While the notion that smokers reliably show higher reactivity to cigarette-related versus neutral cues is both theoretically and empirically supported, it is unclear why never-smokers also show enhanced brain responses to cigarette-related cues. Using a repetitive picture viewing paradigm, in which responses evoked by affective cues are more resistant to habituation, we assessed the effects of stimulus repetition on event-related potentials (ERPs) evoked by pleasant, unpleasant, cigarette-related, and neutral images in 34 smokers (SMO) and 34 never-smokers (NEV). We examined the early posterior negativity (EPN) and the late positive potential (LPP), two ERP components which are sensitive to a picture's motivational qualities. Before stimulus repetition, pleasant, unpleasant, and cigarette-related cues produced greater EPN and LPP amplitudes than neutral cues in all subjects. During stimulus repetition, both components were similarly modulated by emotional arousal, such that pleasant, unpleasant, and cigarette-related cues evoked greater EPN and LPP amplitude, relative to neutral. Smoking status did not modulate these effects. While there were no group differences in self-reported stimulus ratings of valence for pleasant, unplea...Continue Reading

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