Telling Smokers Not To Light Up Makes Them Want to Smoke
As if it wasn’t hard enough to quit smoking, now there’s this: According to a team of psychologists at Oxford University, ‘No Smoking’ signs actually ENCOURAGE smokers to light up.
–First of all, the signs are everywhere these days. And second, seeing the signs trigger a subconscious reaction where smokers start thinking of cigarettes, and then wanting them. Makes sense.
–According to head researcher Brian Earp, quote, “A lot of public health messages are framed in a negative way . . . say no to drugs, don’t drink and drive, no smoking.
–“What’s interesting is the ironic effect of the negative image. No smoking signs are meant to discourage an activity, but what happens is you get a kick back so that the very item that’s supposed to be prohibited becomes more desirable.”
–The study basically used image association: People who had seen images of the no-smoking signs were drawn favorably to other images related to smoking.
–According to Brian, quote, “It’s a significant effect which we think would have real life implications . . . When I say ‘Don’t think of a pink elephant,’ I’ve just put the thought of a pink elephant in your head.'”
–He says follow-up research proves it even further, and it’ll be released soon.