Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Smokers' brains biased against negative images of smoking

Date:
March 10, 2014
Source:
Université de Montréal
Summary:
What if the use of a product influenced your perception of it, making you even more susceptible to its positive aspects and altering your understanding of its drawbacks? This is precisely what happens with cigarettes in chronic smokers, according to a recent study.

What if the use of a product influenced your perception of it, making you even more susceptible to its positive aspects and altering your understanding of its drawbacks? This is precisely what happens with cigarettes in chronic smokers, according to a recent study by the Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Montréal and Université de Montréal.

The study showed that chronic smokers have altered emotional reactions when they are exposed to negative and positive images associated with tobacco. "We observed a bias depending on how smoking is portrayed ," explained Le-Anh Dinh-Williams, a student at the Centre de recherche de l'Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Montréal and the study's first author. "For example, the brains of the smokers in our study were more aroused by images that showed smoking in a positive light than by images that encouraged them to stop. They were also more affected by aversive non-smoking related images than by images of the specific negative consequences of smoking."

In Canada and the United States, approximately 20% of adults smoke cigarettes despite knowing its adverse effects. "We wanted to understand why knowing about the negative health impacts of tobacco does not prevent smokers from lighting up," explained Ms. Dinh-Williams.

Approximately 70% to 95% of smokers who quit their bad habit will, despite their best efforts, start smoking again within one year. "Many factors make it difficult for people to quit. Part of the explanation could certainly be because cigarettes 'trick' the brains of smokers," stated Stéphane Potvin, a co-author of the study and researcher at the Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Montréal and Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Université de Montréal. "Specifically, we discovered that the brain regions associated with motivation are more active in smokers when they see pleasurable images associated with cigarettes and less active when smokers are confronted with the negative effects of smoking."

Using neuroimaging techniques, the study researchers compared the emotional reactions of 30 smokers as they looked at aversive smoking-related images (e.g., lung cancer) compared to other aversive images (e.g., an old man on his deathbed) as well as appetitive smoking-related images.

Statistics

  • Smokers have a 3 to 9 times greater risk of developing cancer, lung disease or heart problems. Cigarettes are also associated with fertility problems, premature aging, a lack of hygiene and social stigmatization, and they have a negative impact on the health of other people who are exposed to second-hand smoke.
  • Overall, 1 out of 2 smokers will die from tobacco use.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Université de Montréal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Laurence Dinh-Williams, Adrianna Mendrek, Josiane Bourque, Stéphane Potvin. Where there's smoke, there's fire: The brain reactivity of chronic smokers when exposed to the negative value of smoking. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, 2014; 50: 66 DOI: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2013.12.009

Cite This Page:

Université de Montréal. "Smokers' brains biased against negative images of smoking." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140310102220.htm>.
Université de Montréal. (2014, March 10). Smokers' brains biased against negative images of smoking. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140310102220.htm
Université de Montréal. "Smokers' brains biased against negative images of smoking." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140310102220.htm (accessed August 23, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) — According to a new study, elderly people might have trouble sleeping because of the loss of a certain group of neurons in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — A new study found couples who had at least 150 guests at their weddings were more likely to report being happy in their marriages. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) — Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, charter schools are the new reality of public education in New Orleans. The state of Louisiana took over most of the city's public schools after the killer storm in 2005. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) — Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins