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Title: Conditional attentional orienting towards smoking related stimuli
Author: Hogarth, L. C.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2000
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A review of the nicotine addiction literature suggests that smoking behaviour is controlled by a conditioned attentional orienting response (CAOR) elicited by Pavlovian conditioned stimuli (CS+) associated with nicotine. The CAOR is argued to be elicited by initial sensory detection of the CS+ and comprise a shift of the focus of the sensory modality towards the spatial location of the CS+. The research described in this dissertation validates the dot probe task as a measure of the CAOR. In experiment 1, naturalistic pictorial smoking related stimuli and matched neutral stimuli were presented to the periphery of smokers' and non-smokers' visual attention in the dot probe task. Smokers of less than 20 cigarettes per day (light-smokers) oriented the focus of visual attention towards smoking stimuli in preference to neutral stimuli, to a greater extent than did smokers of 20 cigarettes or more per day (heavy-smokers) and non-smokers. These findings were replicated in experiment 2, and light-smokers were shown to have abstained from smoking for a longer time period than heavy-smokers. Furthermore, smokers who had abstained from smoking for a time period longer than the median (deprived-smokers) oriented attention towards smoking stimuli in preference to neutral stimuli, to a greater extent than did smokers who had abstained for a time period less than the median (sated-smokers) and non-smokers. These data suggest that Pavlovian CS+ associated with nicotine elicit a CAOR, and that the magnitude of the CAOR is modulated by motivational state (deprivation, satiation). In a second condition in experiment 2, a strong positive contingency was created between on location (locationS) and smoking stimuli by presenting smoking stimuli in locationS consistently over trials. Unexpectedly, light- and deprived-smokers failed to express an attentional bias for smoking stimuli in this condition. To explain this finding, it was suggested that light- and deprived-smokers avoided locationS, which compared with the CAOR elicited by smoking stimuli which occurred in locationS. This proposal was tested in experiment 3, by creating a positive contingency between one location (locationS) and smoking stimuli, and by omitting smoking stimuli from half of trials (called blank trials).
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available