Are addiction-related memories malleable by working memory competition? Transient effects on memory vividness and nicotine craving in a randomized lab experiment

Description

Background and objectives: Experimental research suggests that working memory (WM) taxation reduces craving momentarily. Using a modified Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) procedure, prolonged reductions in craving and relapse rates in alcohol dependence have been demonstrated. Modified EMDR-procedures may also hold promise in smoking cessation attempts. A proof-of-concept study was conducted to narrow the gap between WM-taxation experiments and clinical EMDR studies. To this end the clinical EMDR-procedure was modified for use in a laboratory experiment.

Methods: Daily smokers (n ¼ 47), abstaining overnight, were allocated (by minimization randomization) to one of two groups using a parallel design. In both cases a modified EMDR-procedure was used. In the experimental group (n ¼ 24) eye movements (EM) were induced while control group participants (n ¼ 23) fixed their gaze (not taxing WM). During 6 min trials, craving-inducing memories were recalled. Craving, vividness of target memories, and smoking behavior were assessed at several variable-specific time-points between baseline (one week pre-intervention) and one week follow-up.

Results: The experimental group showed significant immediate reductions of craving and vividness of targeted memories. However, these effects were lost during a one-week follow-up period.

Conclusions: A limited dose of WM-taxation, in the form of EM in a modified EMDR-procedure, resulted in transient effects on memory vividness and nicotine craving. EM provide a valuable way of coping with the acute effects of craving during smoking cessation attempts. Other aspects of the EMDR-procedure may provide additional effects. Component and doseeresponse studies are needed to establish the potential of EMDR-therapy in smoking cessation.

Format

Journal

Language

English

Author(s)

Wiebren Markus
Gerdien H. de Weert e - van Oene
Marcella L. Woud
Eni S. Becker
Cornelis A. J. de Jong

Original Work Citation

Markus, W., de Weert e-van Oene, G. H., Would, M. L., Becker, E. S., & de Jong, C. A. J. (2016).  Are addiction-related memories malleable by working memory competition? Transient effects on memory vividness and nicotine craving in a randomized lab experiment. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 52, 83-91.  doi:10.1016/j.jbtep.2016.03.007

Collection

Citation

“Are addiction-related memories malleable by working memory competition? Transient effects on memory vividness and nicotine craving in a randomized lab experiment,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed July 9, 2020, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/23759.

Output Formats