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Nicotine Tob Res. 2007 May;9(5):613-9.

Carry-over effects of smoking cue exposure on working memory performance.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh, and Center for Neural Basis of Cognition, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA.


The present study investigated the effects of drug cue exposure on working memory performance in cigarette smokers. Adult smokers (N = 23) deprived for 12 hr performed a working memory task during which they were exposed to three types of task-irrelevant stimuli: Pictures containing smoking related-content, pictures devoid of smoking content, and a fixation cross. Consistent with prior research, we found that drug cue exposure affected the processing of subsequent items (i.e., carry-over effects). Specifically, we found that working memory performance was worse on trials containing neutral pictures preceded by trials containing smoking cues compared with performance on trials containing neutral pictures preceded by trials not containing smoking-related stimuli. Previously observed effects of smoking cue exposure on cognitive processing were replicated but only after removing trials subject to carry-over effects. These results replicate and extend previous research demonstrating similar effects and highlight the significant methodological and conceptual implications of carry-over effects.

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