Utilizing virtual reality to standardize nicotine craving research: A pilot study

The University of Georgia, Social Work, 1000 University Center Lane, Lawrenceville, GA 30043, USA.
Addictive Behaviors (Impact Factor: 2.76). 01/2005; 29(9):1889-94. DOI: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2004.06.008
Source: PubMed


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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    • "An example of such a method may be virtual reality (VR). Recently, VR is starting to become more widely used, for example, to assess craving among smokers and drinkers (Baumann & Sayette, 2006; Bordnick et al., 2004; Cho et al., 2008). The assessment of children's responses towards alcohol in VR may therefore constitute a valuable contribution in the understanding of cognition and behaviour, particularly in young children. "
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    ABSTRACT: To prevent harmful drinking, it is essential to understand factors that promote alcohol use at an early age. The aim of the present study was to examine the role of parental alcohol use in children’s selection of alcoholic beverages in a virtual reality (VR) environment and their intentions to drink in the future. Participants were 7–13-year-old children (N = 127) who filled out questionnaires and participated in a VR computer game paradigm in which they were asked to select food and beverages for their parents and themselves. Children’s selection of alcoholic beverages and their intentions to drink alcohol in the future were measured. Children who reported heavier parental drinking selected more alcoholic beverages for their parents and displayed greater intentions to drink alcohol. Children’s responses in virtual reality explained incremental variance in children’s intentions to drink. Implications and limitations are discussed.
    Journal of Substance Use 12/2013; 19(6). DOI:10.3109/14659891.2013.852257 · 0.48 Impact Factor
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    • "A head-mounted display and tracking system respond to user movement by changing the displayed scene in real time as if one were looking around the environment. Evidence of its realistic immersive effect is that exposure to drug-related VR scenarios evokes robust increases in craving among individuals dependent on various drugs of abuse, including alcohol (Bordnick et al., 2008), cocaine (Saladin, Brady, Graap, & Rothbaum, 2006), marijuana (Bordnick et al., 2009), and nicotine (Bordnick, Graap, et al., 2005; Bordnick, Traylor, Graap, Copp, & Brooks, 2005; Bordnick et al., 2004; Ferrer-Garcia, Garcia-Rodriguez, Gutierrez-Maldonado, Pericot-Valverde, & Secades-Villa, 2010; Traylor, Bordnick, & Carter, 2008; Traylor, Bordnick, & Carter, 2009). VR induces craving for alcohol with effect sizes typically $2 SD in magnitude (Bordnick et al., 2008); three times the effect size found in traditional non-VR cue exposure alcohol craving research (Carter & Tiffany, 1999a; Carter & Tiffany, 1999b). "
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    ABSTRACT: Food cravings (FCs) are associated with overeating and obesity and are triggered by environmental cues. The study of FCs is challenged by difficulty replicating the natural environment in a laboratory. Virtual reality (VR) could be used to deliver naturalistic cues in a laboratory. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether food related cues delivered by VR could induce greater FCs than neutral VR cues, photographic food cues, or real food. Sixty normal weight non-dieting women were recruited; and, to prevent a floor effect, half were primed with a monotonous diet (MD). Experimental procedures involved delivering neutral cues via VR and food related cues via VR, photographs, and real food in counterbalanced order while measuring subjective (self-report) and objective (salivation) FCs. FCs produced by VR were marginally greater than a neutral cue, not significantly different from picture cues, and significantly less than real food. The modest effects may have been due to quality of the VR system and/or measures of FC (i.e., self-report and salivation). FC threshold among non-dieting normal weight women was lowered with the use of a MD condition. Weight loss programs with monotonous diets may inadvertently increase FCs making diet compliance more difficult.
    Appetite 09/2013; 71. DOI:10.1016/j.appet.2013.09.006 · 2.69 Impact Factor
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    • "VR provides an opportunity for treatment-seeking persons to safely develop and practice meaningful coping skills while immersed within high-risk VR cue situations. While VR has not used in substance abuse treatment, the ability of the technology to present complex cue environments has been previously demonstrated effective in eliciting craving in smokers in laboratory studies (Bordnick et al., 2004; Bordnick, Graap, Copp, Brooks, & Ferrer, 2005; Traylor, Bordnick, & Carter, 2008). These complex cue environments are appropriate for skill development and practice which will enhance smoking cue exposure techniques. "
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives: The cue-reactivity paradigm has been widely used to assess craving among cigarette smokers. Seeking to replicate and expand on previous virtual reality (VR) nicotine cue-reactivity research on nontreatment-seeking smokers, the current study compared subjective reports of craving for cigarettes when exposed to smoking (proximal and contextual) and neutral cues using VR in treatment-seeking and nontreatment-seeking cigarette smokers. Methods: Data from two previously published studies in nontreatment seekers from our group (Bordnick et al., 2004; Bordnick, Graap, Copp, Brooks, & Ferrer, 2005) were compared to results with 82 newly enrolled treatment-seeking smokers. Results: Overall, VR cues produced similar levels of craving for both treatment seekers and nontreatment seekers across the different cue environments. Specifically, craving was greater for both groups in smoking environments (paraphernalia and party) than those in the neutral environments. Conclusions: These findings provide strong evidence that VR is a useful tool that may be used by social workers and other clinical professionals to present smoking (proximal and contextual) cues for assessment and treatment and illustrate the utility of standardizing VR procedures to compare craving between different groups.
    Research on Social Work Practice 07/2013; 23(4):419-425. DOI:10.1177/1049731513482377 · 1.53 Impact Factor
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