Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology (MA)

Degree Level



Psychological Science


Darya L. Zabelina

Committee Member

William Levine

Second Committee Member

Jennifer C. Veilleux


Cigarette smoking, Ecological momentary assessment, Future thinking, Mental imagery, Mind wandering, Multi-level modeling


With nearly 35 million Americans currently estimated to smoke and an approximate seven out of ten adult smokers wanting to quit, it is clear that there is a need for enhanced smoking cessation techniques. Encouraging people to think about a future smoke-free self may help to encourage and motivate changes in smoking behavior. The present study investigated the role of an episodic future thinking manipulation on the motivation to quit smoking using ecological momentary assessment (EMA). Participants (N = 103) were randomly assigned to either an episodic future thinking (EFT) condition or an episodic recent thinking (ERT) condition, and were asked to write a short paragraph about an EFT or an ERT event from their personal life. Immediately following the writing prompt, participants answered daily questions about mental imagery, mind-wandering, craving, stress, and the motivation to quit smoking. Participants also completed individual differences questionnaires surveying their propensity for holistic thinking, mental imagery, and mind-wandering. It was hypothesized that individuals randomly assigned to the EFT (vs. ERT) condition would report greater motivation to quit smoking. Additionally, participants in the EFT (vs. ERT) condition who reported more holistic thinking were expected to report the strongest motivation to quit smoking. Finally, participants in the EFT group who reported more mental imagery and more frequent mind-wandering (for both the individual differences and daily EMA variables) were expected to report the strongest motivation to quit smoking. None of the hypotheses were supported. However, greater motivation to quit smoking was significantly correlated with greater levels of daily mental imagery and more frequent deliberate daily mind wandering (regardless of the condition). Additionally, daily average deliberate mind-wandering significantly predicted the motivation to quit smoking. Limitations and future directions are discussed.