Research suggests that mindfulness-practices may aid smoking cessation. Yet, the neural mechanisms underlying the effects of mindfulness-practices on smoking are unclear. Response inhibition is a main deficit in addiction, is associated with relapse, and could therefore be a candidate target for mindfulness-based practices. The current study hence investigated the effects of a brief mindfulness-practice on response inhibition in smokers using behavioral and electroencephalography (EEG) measures. Fifty participants (33 females, mean age 20 years old) underwent a protocol of cigarette exposure to induce craving (cueexposure) and were then randomly assigned to a group receiving mindfulness-instructions or control-instructions (for 15 minutes approximately). Immediately after this, they performed a smoking Go/NoGo task, while their brain activity was recorded. At the behavioral level, no group differences were observed. However, EEG analyses revealed a decrease in P3 amplitude during NoGo vs. Go trials in the mindfulness versus control group. The lower P3 amplitude might indicate less-effortful response inhibition after the mindfulness-practice, and suggest that enhanced response inhibition underlies observed positive effects of mindfulness on smoking behavior.

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Journal PLoS ONE
Andreu, C.I. (Catherine I.), Cosmelli, D. (Diego), Slagter, H.A. (Heleen A.), & Franken, I.H.A. (2018). Effects of a brief mindfulness-meditation intervention on neural measures of response inhibition in cigarette smokers. PLoS ONE, 13(1). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0191661