, Volume 127, Issue 1–2, pp 155–163 | Cite as

The use of a dual-task procedure for the assessment of cognitive effort associated with cigarette craving

  • Antonio Cepeda-Benito
  • Stephen T. Tiffany
Original Investigation


Two experiments used a dual-task procedure to investigate Tiffany’s (1990) proposal that drug craving should disrupt activities that demand nonautomatic cognitive processing. The primary task required smokers to imagine sentences that incorporated urge or no-urge descriptors. During imagery, the subjects also responded to a secondary reaction time (RT) task. Additional dependent variables collected during the imagery manipulation included craving report, mood report, heart rate (HR), and skin conductance levels (SCL). In study 1, imagery of urge sentences produced slower probe RTs and increases in HR and SCL, greater urge and negative mood reports, and lower positive mood ratings. This same pattern of results was replicated in the second study, which utilized sentence types more closely matched on no-urge content. These results support Tiffany’s (1990) cognitive processing theory and suggest an innovative approach to the investigation of drug craving.

Key words

Urges Cravings Smokers Imagery Automatic Cognitive processing Cognitive capacity Heart rate Skin conductance levels 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antonio Cepeda-Benito
    • 1
  • Stephen T. Tiffany
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

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