Thursday, June 15, 2006

Nicotine Enhances Memory Performance

A study published in today's Neuropsychopharmacology (TOC) found that nicotine improved performance on a memory task for both smokers and non-smokers.

The memory improvement occurred when people were able to devote their full attentional resources to the task, when attention was divided, the opposite effect was found (see figure, below).



Comparable Effects of Nicotine in Smokers and Nonsmokers on a Prospective Memory Task


This explains the behavior of my friend Aimee, who only smokes when she's writing papers, and also suggests that instead of taking a cigarette "break," smokers should consider taking a cigarette "focus spree" or something of the sort.

2 Comments:

Blogger Ms.PhD said...

This would probably help me a lot, except that I'm prone to addictive behavior so probably couldn't titrate it only for when I really needed it.

Somebody needs to come up with a non-addictive analogue...

12/31/2006 5:41 PM  
Anonymous rachel said...

i have been instituting a strict policy of nicotine focus sprees for years. but then again, i am usually pretty far ahead of the research in Neuropsychopharmacology.

3/22/2007 9:13 AM  

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