Spontaneous Action Representation in Smokers when Watching Movie Characters Smoke

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2011年01月22日(Sat) 13:57

The Journal of Neuroscience, January 19, 2011, 31(3):894-898;
doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5174-10.2011

Spontaneous Action Representation in Smokers when Watching Movie Characters Smoke

Dylan D. Wagner,1 Sonya Dal Cin,2 James D. Sargent,2 William M.
Kelley,1 and Todd F. Heatherton1

1Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences and 2Norris Cotton
Cancer Center, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical School, Dartmouth College,
Hanover, New Hampshire 03755

Correspondence should be addressed to Dylan D. Wagner,
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Moore Hall,
Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755. Email: dylan.d.wagner@dartmouth.edu

Do smokers simulate smoking when they see someone else smoke?
For regular smokers, smoking is such a highly practiced motor skill
that it often occurs automatically, without conscious awareness.
Research on the brain basis of action observation has delineated
a frontoparietal network that is commonly recruited when people
observe, plan, or imitate actions. Here, we investigated whether
this action observation network would be preferentially recruited
in smokers when viewing complex smoking cues, such as those occurring
in motion pictures. Seventeen right-handed smokers and 17 nonsmokers
watched a popular movie while undergoing functional magnetic resonance
imaging. Using a natural stimulus, such as a movie, allowed us to keep
both smoking and nonsmoking participants naive to the goals of
the experiment. Brain activity evoked by movie scenes of smoking was
contrasted with nonsmoking control scenes that were matched for
frequency and duration. Compared with nonsmokers, smokers showed
greater activity in left anterior intraparietal sulcus and inferior
frontal gyrus, regions involved in the simulation of contralateral
hand-based gestures, when viewing smoking versus control scenes.
These results demonstrate that smokers spontaneously represent
the action of smoking when viewing others smoke, the consequence
of which may make it more difficult to abstain from smoking.

Received Oct. 2, 2010; revised Nov. 8, 2010; accepted Nov. 9, 2010.

Correspondence should be addressed to Dylan D. Wagner,
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Moore Hall,
Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755. Email: dylan.d.wagner@dartmouth.edu


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