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Separate and combined effects of the social drugs on psychomotor performance

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Abstract

Ten female subjects (five smokers and five non-smokers) performed a choice reaction time task (CRT), a compensatory tracking task (CTT), a short-term memory task (STM) and were tested for their critical flicker fusion threshold (CFF) at set points over 4 h after the administration of each possible combination of nicotine (2 mg gum or placebo), caffeine (250 mg capsule or placebo) and alcohol (30 g or placebo). Memory and motor function were shown to be facilitated by nicotine or caffeine, and the debilitating effects of alcohol were frequently antagonised by either drug. In spite of the differences in their neuropharmacological actions, combinations of nicotine, caffeine and alcohol may be compared through their effects on common information processing mechanisms involved in psychomotor performance.

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Kerr, J.S., Sherwood, N. & Hindmarch, I. Separate and combined effects of the social drugs on psychomotor performance. Psychopharmacology 104, 113–119 (1991). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02244564

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Key words

  • Nicotine
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Tracking
  • Critical flicker fusion
  • Choice reaction time
  • Short-term memory information processing