Cognition at Risk: Gestalt/Feature-Intensive Processing and Cigarette Smoking in College Students

Matthew J. Sharps, Amy Boothby Villegas, Justin L Matthews

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Although previous research has shown the importance of feature-intensive processing of relevant information in the staving off of addictive behaviors, the present study examined the possibility that a more global, gestalt rejection of cigarette smoking may be operating to reduce smoking behavior. The present study addressed this possibility through the use of a decision efficacy rating procedure, in which smoking and nonsmoking respondents were asked to determine whether an individual was justified in smoking in a variety of given situations. Nonsmokers tended to reject smoking under any circumstances, whereas smokers tended to entertain mitigating circumstances more favorably in justifying smoking, especially when smoking could be construed as providing some perceived positive gains in serious situations. Results are discussed in terms of the gestalt/feature-intensive processing theory of cognition, and in terms of the importance of cognitive approaches to the understanding of addictive behaviors.
Original languageAmerican English
JournalCurrent Psychology
StatePublished - Jun 2005


  • Cognitive Psychology

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