BACKGROUND: Cue-reactivity is the array of responses that smokers exhibit when exposed to conditioned and contextual stimuli previously associated to substance use. The difficulty to experimentally recreate the complexity of smokers' spatial experience and context requires more ecological models. Virtual reality (VR) creates a state of immersion close to reality allowing controlled assessments of behavioral responses. To date, no studies investigated brain activation associated to smoking cue-reactivity in VR using electroencephalography (EEG).AIMS: To investigate whether a VR cue-reactivity paradigm (a) may increase smoking craving, (b) is feasible with EEG recording, and (c) induces craving levels associated to EEG desynchronization.METHODS: Smokers (N=20) and non-smokers (N=20) were exposed to neutral and smoking-related VR scenarios, without and with smoking conditioned stimuli, respectively. EEG was recorded from occipital and parietal leads throughout the sessions to assess alpha band desynchronization. Smoking and food craving and presence visual analogue scales (VAS) were assessed during the session.RESULTS: To be smoker, but not non-smoker, significantly influenced smoking craving VAS induced by smoking cue VR but not by neutral VR. No significant food craving changes was observed during the VR sessions. The new finding was that EEG alpha band power in posterior leads was significantly increased by the smoking context scenario only in smokers, and that the degree of smoking (i.e., heavy vs. light) was significantly associated to this neurophysiological measure.CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated, for the first time, the feasibility of EEG recording in a VR setting, suggesting that EEG desynchronization may be a neurophysiological marker of smoking cue-reactivity.

Smoking-related cue reactivity in a virtual reality setting: association between craving and EEG measures

Tamburin, Stefano
;
Dal Lago, Denise;Armani, Federica;Turatti, Marco;Saccà, Riccardo;Chiamulera, Cristiano
2021-01-01

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Cue-reactivity is the array of responses that smokers exhibit when exposed to conditioned and contextual stimuli previously associated to substance use. The difficulty to experimentally recreate the complexity of smokers' spatial experience and context requires more ecological models. Virtual reality (VR) creates a state of immersion close to reality allowing controlled assessments of behavioral responses. To date, no studies investigated brain activation associated to smoking cue-reactivity in VR using electroencephalography (EEG).AIMS: To investigate whether a VR cue-reactivity paradigm (a) may increase smoking craving, (b) is feasible with EEG recording, and (c) induces craving levels associated to EEG desynchronization.METHODS: Smokers (N=20) and non-smokers (N=20) were exposed to neutral and smoking-related VR scenarios, without and with smoking conditioned stimuli, respectively. EEG was recorded from occipital and parietal leads throughout the sessions to assess alpha band desynchronization. Smoking and food craving and presence visual analogue scales (VAS) were assessed during the session.RESULTS: To be smoker, but not non-smoker, significantly influenced smoking craving VAS induced by smoking cue VR but not by neutral VR. No significant food craving changes was observed during the VR sessions. The new finding was that EEG alpha band power in posterior leads was significantly increased by the smoking context scenario only in smokers, and that the degree of smoking (i.e., heavy vs. light) was significantly associated to this neurophysiological measure.CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated, for the first time, the feasibility of EEG recording in a VR setting, suggesting that EEG desynchronization may be a neurophysiological marker of smoking cue-reactivity.
2021
Craving
Cue reactivity
Electroencephalography
Smoking
Virtual reality
Visual analogue scale (VAS)
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/1031705
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