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Mar 03, 2008

The nicotine craving experience in virtual reality

Location and longing: The nicotine craving experience in virtual reality.

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2008 Feb 1;

Authors: Carter BL, Bordnick P, Traylor A, Day SX, Paris M

Considerable research suggests that cigarette craving is complex, with psychological, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral aspects that are inadequately captured by typical craving assessments that focus on level of severity. That is, the experience of craving, for cigarette smokers, remains poorly understood. This study immersed smokers in different virtual reality (VR) scenarios (with and without cigarette cues present), collected detailed craving assessments, and analyzed the data using a multidimensional analytic approach. Non-treatment-seeking, nicotine dependent smokers (N=22) experienced two different virtual reality scenarios, one with cigarette cues and one without, and rated 24 descriptors related to craving. Multidimensional scaling (MDS) models demonstrate that smokers' experience of craving is qualitatively, structurally different under VR smoking cue conditions versus neutral conditions. This finding sheds new light on the complexity of craving as well as implications for its measurement.

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