Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Smokers "Salivate" to Cigarettes: The Physiological Reactions to Associated Images

It is commonly known that, much like Pavlov's dogs salivating in response to hearing the bell they associate with dinner time, smokers feel cravings and have physiological reactions to pictures they associate with smoking. New research published in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Neuroscience has shown that a smoker's cravings can also be trained to non-smoking related stimuli. Classical conditioning experiments link a neutral stimulus, such as a sound or a picture, to an event, like eating or smoking. Higher order, sometimes called second order conditioning, links this neutral stimulus to a second event...Marianne Littel and Prof Franken, from the Erasmus University Rotterdam, compared the reactions of smokers and non-smokers to a smoking related picture or to a neutral (non-smoking related) picture. These classical responses were then paired to a second round of neutral stimuli – the researchers chose a geometric shape (a cube or a pyramid). The responses of the subjects, such as their cravings and EEG measurements of brain activity, were recorded at each stage. more

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