From reward to addiction: the neural correlates of "craving"
Addiction represents perhaps the most pervasive and extreme form of dysfunction in motivated behavior. At the core of addictive behavior is the apparent salience of substance-related objects, as well as the more general motivational state of craving. Gaining a more comprehensive understanding of the dynamics of attentional capture by addiction-related stimuli, and uncovering a neural index of craving across a range of clinical and non-clinical conditions will do much in the way of providing targets for intervention, and reducing relapse. Here, we propose to examine both automatic attentional capture in an addicted population and how this interacts with craving, as well as the neural correlates of craving in heavy smokers and heroin addicts. We will further delineate these processes in healthy controls, using reward-based motivation as a comparison to the addictive processes. The neural measures of EEG/MEG and fMRI will reveal both the temporal dynamics as well as the neural structures involved in such processes, thereby providing a neural hallmark of craving.