Smoking cues in a virtual world provoke craving in cigarette smokers

Psychol Addict Behav. 2006 Dec;20(4):484-9. doi: 10.1037/0893-164X.20.4.484.


Twenty smoking-deprived cigarette smokers participated in a study to test the ability of smoking cues within a virtual world to provoke self-reported craving to smoke. Participants were exposed to 2 virtual-reality simulations displayed on a computer monitor: a control environment not containing any intentional smoking stimuli and a cue-exposure environment containing smoking stimuli. At various points, participants rated their urge to smoke on a scale of 0-100. Results indicated that baseline urge ratings were equivalent in both conditions, but the maximum increase in urge ratings was significantly higher in the cue-exposure environment than in the control environment. This is comparable to what in vivo studies have reported, but with the advantage of simulating more naturalistic and complex settings in a controlled environment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Advertising
  • Computer Graphics
  • Computer Simulation
  • Cues*
  • Depth Perception
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation*
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology*
  • Social Environment*
  • User-Computer Interface*