The Late Positive Potentials Evoked by Cigarette-Related and Emotional Images Show no Gender Differences in Smokers

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Stevens, Elise M
Frank, David
Codispoti, Maurizio
Kypriotakis, George
Cinciripini, Paul M
Claiborne, Kimberly
Deweese, Menton M
Engelmann, Jeffrey M
Green, Charles E
Karam-Hage, Maher
Minnix, Jennifer A
Ng, Jennifer
Robinson, Jason D
Tyndale, Rachel F
Vidrine, Damon J
et al.
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When trying to quit, women are less likely than men to achieve long-term smoking abstinence. Identifying the neuropsychological mechanisms underlying women’s higher relapse vulnerability will help clinicians to develop effective tailored smoking cessation interventions. Here we used event-related potentials (ERPs), a direct measure of brain activity, to evaluate the extent to which neurophysiological responses to cigarette-related and other emotional stimuli differ between female and male smokers. Both women and men showed similar patterns of brain reactivity across all picture categories; pleasant and unpleasant images prompted larger Late Positive Potentials (LPPs, a robust measure of motivational relevance) than neutral images in both groups, and cigarette-related images prompted lower LPPs than high arousing emotional images in both groups. Unlike previous studies, there were no differences between male and female smokers with regard to LPP responses to cigarette-related images. This suggests that the LPP may not be ideally suited to discriminate neurophysiological gender differences or that there are simply no gender differences in the neurophysiological responses to cigarette-related stimuli. We collected ERPs from 222 non-nicotine-deprived smokers (101 women) while they watched a slideshow that included high and low emotionally arousing pleasant and unpleasant pictures, cigarette-related, and neutral pictures. We used the mean amplitude of the LPP to assess the affective significance that participants attributed to these pictures.

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Scientific Reports
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© The Author(s) 2019. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit
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Stevens, EM; Frank, D; Codispoti, M; Kypriotakis, G; Cinciripini, PM; Claiborne, K; Deweese, MM; Engelmann, JM; Green, CE; Karam-Hage, M; Minnix, JA; Ng, J; Robinson, JD; Tyndale, RF; Vidrine, DJ; Versace, F, The Late Positive Potentials Evoked by Cigarette-Related and Emotional Images Show no Gender Differences in Smokers, Scientific Reports, 2019, 9, pp. 3240