, Volume 115, Issue 4, pp 539–542 | Cite as

Improvements in performance without nicotine withdrawal

  • David M. Warburton
  • Cliff Arnall
Rapid Communication


Two tests were made of the withdrawal-relief explanation of the improvements in performance obtained with smoking. Study 1 examined the extent to which abstinence from smoking produced poorer performance in smokers in comparison with non-smokers. No evidence was obtained of differences in performance in smokers who were deprived of cigarettes for 10 h and non-smokers. Study 2 tested smokers with a standard cigarette or sham smoking after one hour and 12 h of deprivation. There was no difference in performance for the two deprivation intervals either in the sham smoking condition, or after smoking the lit cigarette. This study gave no evidence for withdrawal-relief being an explanation of the improvements in performance obtained with smoking.

Key words

Nicotine Withdrawal Performance 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bättig K (1970) The effect of pre- and post-trial application of nicotine on the 12 problems of the Hebb-Williams test in the rat. Psychopharmacologia 18: 68–76Google Scholar
  2. Clarke PBS (1987) Nicotine and smoking: a perspective from animal studies. Psychopharmacology 92: 135–143Google Scholar
  3. Frearson W, Barrett P, Eysenck HJ (1988) Evidence of more rapid stimulus evaluation following cigarette smoking. Addict Behav 10: 113–126Google Scholar
  4. Geller I, Hartmann R, Blum, K (1971) Effects of nicotine, nicotine monomethiodide, lobeline, chlordiazepoxide, meprobamate and caffeine on a discrimination task in laboratory rats. Psychopharmacologia 20: 355–365Google Scholar
  5. Greenhouse SW, Geisser S (1959) On methods of analysing profile data. Psychometrika 24: 95–112Google Scholar
  6. Hindmarch I, Kerr JS, Sherwood N (1990) Effects of nicotine gum on psychomotor performance in smokers and non-smokers. Psychopharmacology 100: 535–541Google Scholar
  7. Kerr JS, Sherwood N, Hindmarch I (1991) Separate and combined effects of the social drugs on psychomotor performance. Psychopharmacology 104: 113–119Google Scholar
  8. Jones GMM, Sahakian BJ, Levy R, Warburton DM, Gray JA (1992) Effects of acute subcutaneous nicotine on attention, information processing and short-term memory in Alzheimer's disease. Psychopharmacology 108: 485–494Google Scholar
  9. Landers DM, Lindholm E, Crews DJ, Koriath JJ (1990) Cigarette smoking and smokeless tobacco facilitate information processing and performance. Psychophysiology 27: S47Google Scholar
  10. Levin ED (1992) Nicotinic systems and cognitive function. Psychopharmacology 108: 417–431Google Scholar
  11. Nelsen JM, Goldstein L (1972) Improvement of performance on an attention task with chronic nicotine treatment in rats. Psychopharmacologia 26: 347–360Google Scholar
  12. Pritchard WS, Robinson JH, Guy TD (1992) Enhancement of continuous performance task reaction time by smoking in non-deprived smokers. Psychopharmacology 108: 437–442Google Scholar
  13. Revell AD (1988) Smoking and performance — a puff-by-puff analysis. Psychopharmacology 96: 563–565Google Scholar
  14. Sherwood N, Kerr JS, Hindmarch I (1990a) Effects of nicotine on short-term memory. In: Adlkofer F, Thurau K (eds) Effects of nicotine on biological systems, Birkhauser, Basel, pp 531–535Google Scholar
  15. Sherwood N, Kerr JS Hindmarch I (1990b) No differences in the psychomotor response of heavy, light and non-smokers to the acute administration of nicotine. Med Sci Res 18: 839–840Google Scholar
  16. Sherwood N, Kerr JS, Hindmarch I (1992) Psychomotor performance in smokers following single and repeated doses of nicotine gum, Psychopharmacology 108: 432–436Google Scholar
  17. Wesnes K, Warburton DM (1978) The effect of cigarette smoking and nicotine tablets upon human attention. In: Thornton RE (ed) Smoking behaviour: physiological and psychological influences. Churchill-Livingstone, London, pp 131–147Google Scholar
  18. Wesnes K, Warburton DM, Matz B (1983) The effects of nicotine on stimulus sensitivity and response bias in a visual vigilance task. Neuropsychobiology 9: 41–44Google Scholar
  19. Wesnes K, Warburton DM (1983) The effects of smoking on rapid information processing performance. Neuropsychobiology 9: 223–229Google Scholar
  20. Wesnes K, Warburton DM (1984a) Effects of scopolamine and nicotine on human rapid information processing performance. Psychopharmacology 82: 147–150Google Scholar
  21. Wesnes K, Warburton, DM (1984b) The effects of cigarettes of varying yield on rapid information processing performance. Psychopharmacology 82: 338–342Google Scholar
  22. West R (1993) Beneficial effect of nicotine: fact or fiction? (Editorial). Addiction 88: 589–590Google Scholar
  23. West R, Hack S (1991) Effects of cigarettes on memory search and subjective ratings. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 38: 281–286Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • David M. Warburton
    • 1
  • Cliff Arnall
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of ReadingReadingUK

Personalised recommendations