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.
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