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.