Testing the influence of external and internal cues on smoking motivation using a community sample

Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 2010 Feb;18(1):61-70. doi: 10.1037/a0017414.


Exposing smokers to either external cues (e.g., pictures of cigarettes) or internal cues (e.g., negative affect induction) can induce urge to smoke and other behavioral and physiological responses. However, little is known about whether the two types of cues interact when presented in close proximity, as is likely the case in the real word. Additionally, potential moderators of cue reactivity have rarely been examined. Finally, few cue-reactivity studies have used representative samples of smokers. In a randomized 2 x 2 crossed factorial between-subjects design, the current study tested the effects of a negative affect cue intended to produce anxiety (speech preparation task) and an external smoking cue on urge and behavioral reactivity in a community sample of adult smokers (N = 175), and whether trait impulsivity moderated the effects. Both types of cues produced main effects on urges to smoke, despite the speech task failing to increase anxiety significantly. The speech task increased smoking urge related to anticipation of negative affect relief, whereas the external smoking cues increased urges related to anticipation of pleasure; however, the cues did not interact. Impulsivity measures predicted urge and other smoking-related variables, but did not moderate cue-reactivity. Results suggest independent rather than synergistic effects of these contributors to smoking motivation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Cues*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation* / physiology
  • Residence Characteristics*
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Smoking / therapy
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology