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Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2007 Nov;195(1):1-9. Epub 2007 Jul 19.

Effects of cigarette smoking and abstinence on Stroop task performance.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Abstract

RATIONALE:

Smokers report enhanced concentration after cigarette smoking and difficulty concentrating when abstinent from smoking. These perceived effects may contribute to smoking cessation failures, and if so, clarification of their cognitive bases could inform treatment strategies. Selective attention may be important in this regard, but earlier literature presents inconsistent findings on how smoking abstinence and resumption of smoking influence this cognitive function.

OBJECTIVES:

We aimed to compare smokers and nonsmokers on selective attention, and in smokers, to test the effects of overnight abstinence from smoking and of acute smoking on selective attention.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

Smokers and nonsmokers (n = 43) performed a Stroop test (two test days, two test blocks per day). Smokers participated after overnight abstinence and also within 1-h of ad libitum smoking. Smokers each smoked a cigarette between test blocks on each day; nonsmokers did not.

RESULTS:

Smokers demonstrated longer response latencies for both congruent and incongruent stimuli after overnight than brief abstinence, but no deficit specifically related to selective attention. Whereas nonsmokers showed no changes in performance in the second test block, smoking between blocks reduced the Stroop effect when smokers were abstinent overnight.

CONCLUSIONS:

These data are consistent with the hypothesis that abstinence from smoking among nicotine-dependent individuals has deleterious effects on cognitive performance, but do not indicate that selective attention is adversely effected. Improvement in selective attention after terminating abstinence with one cigarette may also contribute to smokers' perceived enhanced ability to concentrate after smoking.

PMID:
17634928
PMCID:
PMC2796691
DOI:
10.1007/s00213-007-0869-x
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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