Cigarette smoking and attention to signals of reward and threat in the Stroop paradigm

Powell, Jane H.; Tait, Samantha and Lessiter, Jane. 2002. Cigarette smoking and attention to signals of reward and threat in the Stroop paradigm. Addiction, 97(9), pp. 1163-1170. ISSN 09652140 [Article]

No full text available

Abstract or Description

AIMS: To test the prediction arising from the incentive-sensitization model of addiction that when tested immediately after smoking, smokers will show heightened attention to words with appetitive and aversive motivational significance compared with their performance during acute abstinence.

DESIGN: Twenty-one smokers were each tested twice, once just after smoking and once after overnight abstinence, on three versions of the modified Stroop task which required colour naming of words with either neutral, appetitive or aversive connotations. Ten non-smokers were tested once.

SETTING: All participants were tested in a quiet experimental cubicle within the psychology department.

PARTICIPANTS: Smokers comprised nine men and 12 women who had smoked at least 10 cigarettes per day for the last 6 months; non-smokers comprised five men and five women who had never smoked. All were aged between 18 and 35 years. Three smokers were excluded from the analyses because their breath CO levels suggested they had not complied with the instructions to abstain on one occasion.

MEASUREMENTS: A card-based, blocked, format was used for the modified Stroop task. Time to colour-name the words of the three motivational types, the order of which was counterbalanced across participants, was recorded.

FINDINGS: Smoking was associated with greater interference from both threat and appetitive words than from neutral words; during abstinence there was no differential effect of word type. Non-smokers performed more similarly to recent smokers.

CONCLUSIONS: This pattern suggests suppression of normal motivational responding during abstinence.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):

Departments, Centres and Research Units:




Item ID:


Date Deposited:

28 Mar 2011 13:13

Last Modified:

04 Jul 2017 10:39

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


Edit Record Edit Record (login required)