Engendering habituation to stimulus of smoking through mental simulation of smoking

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Doyle, Steven
Issue Date
BA (Hons) in Psychology
Dublin Business School
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This study investigates whether mental simulation of the act of smoking a cigarette can engender habituation to the stimulus of smoking in a number of participants and, as such, result in a reduction in the amount the individual participants smoke or score on the Fagerstrom Test for Nicotine Dependence (FTND). It also investigates the effect, if any, an individual's personality might play in a quit attempt. Participants Stage of Change was taken into consideration in an effort to further gauge the affect mental simulation and tailor any future interventions using mental simulation to a given stage. The study found that participants (n=26) showed no reduction in either the amount smoked or the FTND score when the act of smoking is stimulated mentally. Participants scoring high in extraversion on the EPQ-R recorded an increase in amount smoked, while those high in neuroticism failed to significantly reduce either amount smoked or FTND score. The study concludes that considerably more detailed research is needed to test whether the mental simulation of smoking a cigarette can engender habituation to the stimulus of smoking. It is more than likely that the technique of mental simulation will only have supplementary considerations in the field of smoking cessation. Author keywords: Smoking, cessation, mental stimulation, habituation, stages of change, transtheoretical model