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Adam Green Awarded Grant from American Legacy Foundation

February 12, 2013 – The American Legacy Foundation (new window)has awarded Professor Adam Green  (new window)funding to support an fMRI study examining young smokers’ neural responses to anti-smoking mass media campaign messages and tobacco industry advertising messages in brain regions responsible for attention, inhibition of familiar behavioral response, and craving/reward associated with smoking. Specifically, it will investigate whether the graphic warning labels proposed for use on U.S. cigarette packs elicit a change in young adult smokers’ neural responses to cigarette packaging.

Evidence suggests that these labels may be effective as a tobacco control strategy, but previous studies have been based primarily on self-reported emotional and cognitive outcomes. Critically, neural responses in specific brain regions have been shown to predict future behavior (including quitting smoking) more accurately than self-reports. Professor Green will use neuroimaging methods to examine the brain processes taking place while individuals view these labels, thus evaluating the effectiveness of graphic warning labels beyond what is readily captured by self-report assessment methods. He and his team will examine smokers’ neural responses to cigarette promotions with graphic warning labels compared with promotions with no warnings and those with standard text-only warnings.

By applying neuroimaging methods, Professor Green’s work is poised to advance the area of tobacco control science by identifying the neural mechanisms underlying smokers’ responses to graphic warnings. This study will be the critical step towards a major breakthrough in the science of graphic warnings, paving the way for other studies in this area of research that will generate critically needed tests to identify the graphic warning labels that produce the strongest responses and, thus, are most likely to promote smoking cessation. This research also breaks new ground by investigating the effects of genes linked to tobacco dependency on the neural responses of smokers.

Dr. Green is an Assistant Professor in the Georgetown Department of Psychology and the Director of the Cognitive Neurogenetics Lab (new window). His work focuses on human intelligence, and especially in understanding how neural and molecular genetic processes constitute intelligence. Ongoing projects in his lab aim to delineate pathways of effect through which genes influence cognitive abilities by influencing the function and/or structure of specific neurophysiology that supports those abilities.

Congratulations, Professor Green!