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Addict Behav. 2004 Dec;29(9):1889-94.

Utilizing virtual reality to standardize nicotine craving research: a pilot study.

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  • 1The University of Georgia, Social Work, 1000 University Center Lane, Lawrenceville, GA 30043, USA.


Traditional cue reactivity provides a methodology for examining drug triggers and stimuli in laboratory and clinical settings. However, current techniques lack standardization and generalization across research settings. Improved methodologies using virtual reality (VR) cue reactivity extend previous research standardizing exposure to stimuli and exploring reactions to drug cues in a controlled VR setting. In a controlled pilot trial, 13 nicotine-dependent participants were allowed to smoke ad libitum then exposed to VR smoking and VR neutral cues and compared on craving intensity. VR smoking cues significantly increased craving compared to VR neutral cues. On average, craving intensity increased 118% during exposure to VR smoking cues. Implications for substance abuse research and treatment using VR to assess cessation and anticraving medications are discussed.

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