A new psychological study has found that 'no smoking' signs evoke desire in smokers and encourage them to take a puff. According to scientists, this is called the 'ironic effect' on smokers.
"You get ironic effects when you couple information that people perceive with negation," the Daily Mail quoted Brian Earp, researcher from Oxford University as saying.
"No smoking signs in particular are everywhere. If you're a smoker walking down a street you're likely to pass five or six of these signs in windows or on doors. If you have a chronically positive attitude to smoking this could boost your craving," he added.
To fortify the theory, Earp's team conducted a test on a group of smoking volunteers by showing them a number of photographs related to 'no smoking' signs.
The results showed that participants, who had earlier been shown the signs, were more drawn to smoking-related images such as ashtrays and cigarettes.
"What's interesting is the ironic effect of the negative image. No smoking signs are meant to discourage an activity but what happens is you get a kick back so that the very item that's supposed to be prohibited becomes more desirable," Earp said.
The study will be presented at the British Psychological Society's annual meeting in Glasgow.