Picture this: Smoking cues as elicitors of compensatory responses in smokers

Document Type




Conference Title

Annual Meeting of the Association for Behavior Analysis


Association for Behavior Analysis


Denver, CO

Conference Dates

May 27-31, 2011

Date of Presentation



The current study extends previous research on conditional compensatory responses and illicit drugs to smoking by exposing adult smokers (n = 5) and nonsmokers (n= 5) to smoking and non-smoking related imagery in an ABCBC reversal design. P- and post-slide show carbon monoxide (CO) levels were taken using a CO monitor as the main measure of compensatory responding. Heart rate and blood pressure readings also were recorded. Results indicated that, compared to pre-slide show CO levels, CO levels of smokers were lower following a visual presentation of smoking-related images as compared to a presentation of non-smoking-related images. This drop in CO levels was not evident in (a) nonsmoking participants, (b) smoking participants following a non-smoking visual array, or (c) a smoker-control participant. In addition, no differential patterns of heart rate or blood pressure were observed in any participants during any condition. These data suggest that compensatory responses occur in smokers and this may have important implications for our understanding of "withdrawal" and "cravings" as conditioned physiological responses.

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