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Resolved to quit smoking?
Date:1/31/2011

ey were doing and to obtain biological verification of how much they were smoking, by assessing their CO levels. Participants reported smoking an average of 5 cigarettes a day, compared with an average of 21 a day at the start of the study, and CO levels were consistent with these self-reports. But there was considerably variability in how successful participants were in achieving the goal.

The researchers compared the smokers' behavior change from the start to the end of the study with neural activity in a particular brain region that the team's previous research had suggested is predictive of behavior change the medial prefrontal cortex. Neural activity in this region of the brain was significantly linked to reductions in smoking behavior over the month following the scan, predicting how successful people would be in reducing their smoking. "What is exciting," Falk explained, "is that by knowing what is going on in someone's brain during the ads, we can do twice as well at predicting their future behavior, compared to if we only knew their self-reported estimate of how successful they would be, or their intention to quit."

Interestingly, many of the ads that did not seem immediately relevant to participants at the time of the scan emerged as the most highly recalled during the month that people tried to quit smoking. "It is possible that the brain activity we are observing predicts behavior change that is not predicted by people's self-reports, because it is tapping into something that people aren't consciously aware of when they initially see the ads," said Falk.


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Contact: Diane Swanbrow
swanbrow@umich.edu
734-647-9069
University of Michigan
Source:Eurekalert

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