Lack of reinforcement enhancing effects of nicotine in non-dependent smokers
Recent animal research has shown that, aside from its primary and secondary reinforcing effects, nicotine may enhance reinforcement from stimuli unrelated to nicotine intake. Little human research has directly examined this potentially important influence of nicotine.
We report two virtually identical studies examining the influence of nicotine, via nasal spray (study 1) and cigarettes (study 2), on the reinforcing effects of rewards unrelated to nicotine intake.
Materials and methods
Both studies involved young adults with some past smoking exposure but no history of nicotine dependence. Reinforcement was assessed by responses on a simple operant computer task reinforced by: money, music, the termination of aversive noise, or no reward (control). Participants responded for rewards on three separate sessions, involving intermittent dosing of 0, 5, or 10 μg/kg nicotine via nasal spray (study 1) or the smoking of 0.05 or 0.6 mg nicotine cigarettes or no smoking (study 2).
Results showed no effects of nicotine, by nasal spray or cigarette smoking, on reinforced responses, although nicotine increased some subjective responses (e.g. head rush/buzzed, liking). Nicotine via smoking also did not influence affect or hedonic ratings of slides varying in mood valence in an exploratory trial in study 2.
These results do not support the notion that nicotine per se enhances the reinforcing value of other reinforcers in humans. Any reinforcement enhancing effects of nicotine in humans may be specific to dependent smokers or may be relatively narrow and dependent upon procedural conditions different from those in the current studies.
KeywordsNicotine Reinforcement Reinforcement enhancement Reward Smoking
This research was supported by NIH Grant DA19478 (KAP). The authors thank Mike Eddy, Roy Chengappa, Ryan Shugarman, and Carolyn Fonte for their assistance.
- American Psychiatric Association (APA) (1994) Diagnostic and statistical manual-IV. American Psychiatric Association, Washington DCGoogle Scholar
- Cohen J (1988) Statistical power analysis for the social sciences, 2nd edn. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale NJGoogle Scholar
- Hughes JR, Hatsukami DK (2007) Instructions for use of the Minnesota Withdrawal Scale-Revised. Retrieved from www/uvm.edu/~hbpl .Google Scholar
- Huitema B (1980) Analysis of covariance and alternatives. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Lang PJ, Ohman A, Vaitl D (1988) The international affective picture system [photographic slides]. The Center for Research in Psychophysiology, University of Florida, GainesvilleGoogle Scholar
- Norman WD, Jongerius JL (1985) Apple picker: computer software for studying human responding on concurrent and multiple schedules. Behav Res Meth Instr Comput 17:222–225Google Scholar
- Perkins KA (2008) Sex differences in nicotine reinforcement and reward: influences on the persistence of tobacco smoking. In: Bevins R, Caggiula AR (eds) The motivational impact of nicotine and its role in tobacco use. Springer, New York, pp 143–169Google Scholar
- Perkins KA, Epstein LH, Stiller R, Jennings JR, Christiansen C, McCarthy T (1986) An aerosol spray alternative to cigarette smoking in the study of the behavioral and physiological effects of nicotine. Behav Res Meth Instr Comput 18:420–426Google Scholar
- Perkins KA, Grobe JE, Fonte C, Goettler J, Caggiula AR, Reynolds WA, Stiller RL, Scierka A, Jacob RG (1994b) Chronic and acute tolerance to subjective, behavioral, and cardiovascular effects of nicotine in humans. J Pharmacol Exper Ther 270:628–638Google Scholar
- Perkins KA, Gerlach D, Broge M, Grobe JE, Sanders M, Fonte C, Vender J, Cherry C, Wilson A (2001c) Dissociation of nicotine tolerance from tobacco dependence in humans. J Pharmacol Exper Ther 296:849–856Google Scholar