, Volume 180, Issue 2, pp 333–341

Attentional and approach biases for smoking cues in smokers: an investigation of competing theoretical views of addiction

Original Investigation

DOI: 10.1007/s00213-005-2158-x

Cite this article as:
Mogg, K., Field, M. & Bradley, B.P. Psychopharmacology (2005) 180: 333. doi:10.1007/s00213-005-2158-x



Different theories of addiction make conflicting predictions about whether attentional and approach biases for smoking-related cues are enhanced, or reduced, as a function of the level of nicotine dependence.


These theoretical views were evaluated by examining cognitive biases in smokers.


We monitored the eye movements of 41 smokers (predominantly young adults, who smoked from one to 40 cigarettes per day) as they completed a visual probe task in which smoking-related and matched control pictures were presented. Participants also completed a stimulus-response compatibility task, which measured the tendency to approach smoking-related cues, and a rating task.


Smokers with lower levels of nicotine dependence showed greater maintained attention and faster approach responses to smoking-related cues. Longer gaze times for smoking cues were associated not only with lower levels of nicotine dependence, but also with higher levels of craving.


Overall, the results seem consistent with an integrated ‘incentive-habit’ model of addiction.


Attentional bias Approach bias Nicotine dependence Eye movements Drug cues Craving 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for the Study of Emotion and Motivation, School of PsychologyUniversity of SouthamptonHighfieldUK
  2. 2.School of PsychologyThe University of LiverpoolLiverpoolUK

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