Psychologists have spent thousands of years studying the learning processes of the white rat, yet until recently they have neglected the laboratory of everyday social behavior for studying learning in man. In this book the leading experts in learning theory and pharmacology examine the role of learning mechanisms in smoking. The results provide new insights into the study of learning and determine new directions for future research on smoking and its control.
Two opening essays establish the framework for the volume. One is a thorough review of research on controlling smoking behavior, and the other is a review of findings on the personality of the smoker and the non-smoker. A second part includes four essays. The first discusses the role played by habit in smoking, defining habit in terms of "fixed behavior patterns, over learned to the point of becoming automatic, and marked by decreasing awareness and increasing dependency on secondary rather than primary reinforcement." The second discusses mechanisms of self-control, concentrating on humiliation or the realization of "membership in an ethically repugnant class" as one typical means of achieving such control. The third is an excellent statement of the reinforcement position, and the fourth discusses the role of nicotine as an addictive agent. Part three presents the views of sociologists on smoking behavior and goes on to discuss the effects of prolonged alcohol ingestion on the eating, drinking, and smoking patterns of chronic alcoholics.
In its new approach to the study of smoking and learning behavior this book is of continuing interest to psychologists, psychiatrists, medical doctors, public health officers, teachers--anyone interested in the scientific study and practical control of smoking behavior. It is valuable collateral reading for courses in experimental psychology, social psychology, and health education on both the undergraduate and graduate levels.