Context in Addiction

The role of context in substance dependence and relapse. Places associated with drug use provoke craving and relapse. In a series of groundbreaking studies, CfAST investigators have studied the role of context in cigarette craving and use by having smokers take pictures of places in their environment associated with smoking (i.e. personal smoking environments; PSEs) and examining behavioral and neural reactions to these stimuli. These studies have demonstrated that PSEs (even when devoid of any proximal cues) elicit robust craving responses and a unique signature of brain activation. Current studies are evaluating the effects of first line pharmacotherapies on PSE-reactivity and the effects of including PSEs in extinction-based smoking cessation interventions.

Relevant Publications

McClernon FJ, Conklin CA, Kozink RV, Adcock RA, Sweitzer MM, Addicott MA, Chou YH, Chen NK, Hallyburton MB, DeVito AM. Hippocampal and Insular Response to Smoking-Related Environments: Neuroimaging Evidence for Drug-Context Effects in Nicotine Dependence. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2015 Jul 16. PUBMED

Current Projects

ENVIRONMENT CUE-REACTIVITY: BRAIN, BEHAVIOR AND CLINICAL OUTCOMES IN TOBACCO USE R01DA038442 (PI: McClernon) NIH REPORTER

STRENGTHENING INSTRUMENTAL EXTINCTION TO PREVENT SMOKING RELAPSE R21DA037753 (PI: McClernon) NIH REPORTER