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Addiction – Smoking

4. Internal Mechanisms of Addiction

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About this Lecture


In this lecture, we begin to uncover the underpinnings of the afore discussed internal and external influences on people’s susceptibility to addiction in the form of biological mechanisms, focusing in particular on: (i) the biochemical process of neural communication in the body and brain, specifying dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin as particularly relevant in research on addiction; (ii) the fact that knowledge of these neurotransmitters is used to inform drug treatments, an example given being selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s); (iii) the dopamine system and the role that nicotine binding plays in its release.


In this course, Professor Marcus Munafò explores addiction in the context of smoking and smoking cessation. In the first lecture, we think about some key physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms of smoking, before exploring the fact that the positive outcomes of smoking may be simply an absence of these withdrawal symptoms. In the second and third lectures, we explore the internal and external factors which can influence the likelihood that someone may become addicted to a substance. In the fourth and fifth lectures, we continue this differentiation between internal and external factors, discussing internal, biological mechanisms of addiction and external, learning mechanisms. In his final note, Professor Munafò brings forward the idea of understanding addiction as a disorder of learning.


Marcus Munafò is a professor of biological psychology and associate pro vice-chancellor of research culture at the University of Bristol. Professor Munafò’s research is focused on understanding health behaviours related to tobacco and alcohol use, informing current debates on tobacco product packaging. With experience in an array of research methods, one of Professor Munafò’s other interests is in whether participant incentives in scientific experiments provide an optimal level of robustness and reproducibility. Some of Professor Munafò’s recent publications include ‘Acceptability of integrating smoking cessation treatment into routine care for people with mental illness’ (2022) and ‘Applying Mendelian randomization to appraise causality in relationships between nutrition and cancer’ (2022).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Munafò, M. (2021, November 09). Addiction – Smoking - Internal Mechanisms of Addiction [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Munafò, M. "Addiction – Smoking – Internal Mechanisms of Addiction." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 09 Nov 2021,

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