Immediate and lasting effects of different regulation of craving strategies on cue-induced craving and the late positive potential in smokers

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review


Craving, induced by substance-related cues, contributes to continued substance use and relapse. Therefore, regulation of craving (ROC) is important for treatment success. Distraction involves disengaging from craving-inducing cues; whereas, reappraisal requires engaging with potential risks of substance use. Given this difference in elaboration, we addressed the question whether reappraisal entails lasting advantages over distraction in successful ROC. To elucidate how this is implemented neurally, we examined the late positive potential (LPP) as an electrocortical indicator of motivated attention to cues. N = 62 smokers viewed smoking-related pictures and indicated the degree of craving each picture induced. While viewing the pictures, EEG was recorded, and the participants focused on the long-term negative (LATER) or short-term positive (NOW) consequences of smoking or performed an arithmetic task to distract themselves from processing the pictures (DISTRACT). After a break, all pictures were presented again without regulation instruction (re-exposure). Results revealed that LATER and DISTRACT achieved similar degrees of immediate ROC success, but only LATER had a sustained effect during re-exposure. In contrast, LPP amplitudes were more prominently reduced during DISTRACT than LATER, and there was no difference in LPP amplitudes during re-exposure. These findings imply that it may be beneficial to engage with the risks of drug use (reappraisal) rather than avoiding triggers of craving (distraction). However, these effects do not seem to be mediated by lasting changes in cue-related motivated attention (LPP).


Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13315
JournalAddiction Biology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023

External IDs

Scopus 85165500442
ORCID /0000-0002-8845-8803/work/141545293
ORCID /0000-0001-8691-1873/work/142234713
Mendeley 0abdcfe8-edb4-3849-970c-8f93e4779a23


DFG Classification of Subject Areas according to Review Boards

Sustainable Development Goals


  • craving, distraction, electroencephalography, re-exposure, reappraisal, regulation, smoking

Library keywords