Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Valentiner, David P.

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Semantic networks (Information theory); Cigarette smokers--Psychology


The current study sought to replicate and extend upon a study by Zwaan and Truitt by examining how well smokers and nonsmokers could inhibit smoking-related and neutral information. The study employed a computer task that was modeled after Gernsbacher, Varner, and Faust's cognitive suppression task. The current study employed both a short (100ms) and long (850ms) delay condition, which are thought to assess the cognitive processes of activation and suppression, respectively. A total of 50 nonsmokers and 51 smokers were recruited for participation in the study. Overall, smokers had relatively more difficulty than nonsmokers inhibiting smoking-related information at both the short and long delay conditions. Nonsmokers did not display any significant difficulties inhibiting smoking information. The two groups did not differ in their ability to inhibit neutral information at either the short or long delay condition. These results are interpreted in terms of smokers developing a semantic network for smoking information, which becomes activated upon exposure to smoking cues and results in smokers experiencing difficulty suppressing smoking-related information.


Includes bibliographical references (pages 64-69).


91 pages




Northern Illinois University

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