Investigating the impact of nicotine on executive functions using a novel virtual reality assessment

Article


Jansari, A., Froggatt, Daniel, Edginton, Trudi and Dawkins, L. 2012. Investigating the impact of nicotine on executive functions using a novel virtual reality assessment. Addiction. 108 (5), pp. 977-984.
AuthorsJansari, A., Froggatt, Daniel, Edginton, Trudi and Dawkins, L.
Abstract

Aims Nicotine is known to enhance aspects of cognitive functioning in abstinent smokers but the effects on specific areas of executive functions, and in non-smokers are inconclusive. This may be due in part to the poor sensitivity of tests used to assess executive functions. This study used a new virtual reality assessment of executive functions known as JEF (the Jansari assessment of Executive Functions) to address this issue.
Design 2x2 design manipulating group (smokers and never-smokers) and drug (nicotine [4mg for smokers; 2mg for never smokers] vs placebo gum).
Setting School of Psychology; University of East London
Participants 72 participants (aged 18 to 54). 36 minimally-deprived (2 hr) smokers and 36 never-smokers.
Measurements Components of executive function were measured using the virtual reality paradigm JEF, which assesses eight cognitive constructs simultaneously as well as providing an overall performance measure.
Results Univariate ANOVAs revealed that nicotine improved overall JEF performance, time-based prospective memory and event-based prospective memory in smokers (p < 0.01) but not in never-smokers. Action-based prospective memory was enhanced in both groups (p < 0.01) and never-smokers out-performed smokers on selective thinking and adaptive thinking (p < 0.01).
Conclusions. Overall executive functioning and prospective memory can be enhanced by nicotine gum in abstinent smokers. That smokers were only minimally deprived suggests that JEF is a sensitive measure of executive functioning and that prospective memory is particularly susceptible to disruption by abstinence.

Keywordsnicotine; executive function; prospective memory
JournalAddiction
Journal citation108 (5), pp. 977-984
ISSN1360-0443
Year2012
PublisherWiley-Blackwell for Society for the Study of Addiction
File
License
CC BY-ND
Web address (URL)http://www.addictionjournal.org/
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/%28ISSN%291360-0443
Publication process dates
Deposited30 Nov 2012
Accepted28 Nov 2012
Accepted28 Nov 2012
Copyright information© Society for the Study of Addiction
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