Cognitive and Attentional Bias in the Processing of Smoking-Related Stimuli

Wallace-Bell, M.A. (2001) Cognitive and Attentional Bias in the Processing of Smoking-Related Stimuli. PhD thesis, Middlesex University.

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Abstract

The aim of the present thesis was to examine the cognitive and attentional processing of smoking-related stimuli in abstinent, active and non-smokers. The initial research reported here is directed at establishing appropriate experimental and questionnaire materials for the main studies. This included the development of a valid list of smoking-related words with frequency-matched controls, and revising the Smoking Motivation Questionnaire based on
analyses of structure and reliability.
Generalised cognitive biases were assessed through a series of modified Stroop experiments. Although the findings suggested that abstinence alters cognition with respect
to smoking-related stimuli an assessment of the results suggested that there were some inconsistencies in the findings. Only when a blocked-format Stroop with vocal responses was used was there evidence of a cognitive bias for smoking-related words in abstinent smokers. In order to specifically examine attentional bias in abstinent, active and nonsmokers, a final study assessed performance on a Dot Probe task. Results showed no shift in attention towards smoking words in abstinent smokers. However, a subsidiary analysis revealed that smokers who reported an awareness of smoking shifted their attention towards smoking words.These findings may suggest that different formats of attentional tasks
provide differing outcomes in terms of smokers processing of smoking-related information, and that awareness is an important aspect of this processing. Finally, analyses of self-report measures revealed that smokers were more state anxious than smokers and that abstinence increased state anxiety and cigarette craving.
The results from this thesis have provided some useful indicators of successful smoking cessation and may assist in the development of a cognitive model of smoking. However, the development of the work will be dependent on modifications and extensions needed to address the anomalies in the findings. Specifically the smoking-related words used and the type of attentional task employed.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Research Areas: B. > Theses
Item ID: 13437
Depositing User: Adam Miller
Date Deposited: 13 Jan 2015 10:46
Last Modified: 07 Apr 2019 07:30
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/13437

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