Cigarette smokers were found to show reluctance to accepting better financial suggestions in a brain scan study conducted by American researchers.
Pearl Chiu of the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, likens this behaviour to the dodgy decision-making that makes smokers form the habit of smoking despite knowing its harmful effects.
During the study, the researchers scanned the brains of 31 chain smokers and the same number of non-smokers as they played a game inside an fMRI scanner.
The subjects had to invest money in a simulated stock market over several rounds, and they were given feedback on the returns from their investment choices after each round.
They were even suggested how they might have earned more had they invested differently, reports New Scientist magazine.
It was observed that non-smokers generally used the feedback to shape future rounds of investment, whereas the smokers' behaviour was barely affected.
Pearl Chiu said that brain scans suggested that smokers were processing information, but were not acting on it to alter their performance.
The study, described in a report in Nature Neuroscience, may be helpful for researchers in pinpointing differences in people who are prone to smoking addiction.