Nicotine improves memory for delayed intentions

Rusted, Jennifer M., Trawley, Steven, Heath, Jenna, Kettle, Gemma and Walker, Helen 2005, Nicotine improves memory for delayed intentions, Psychopharmacology, vol. 182, no. 3, pp. 355-365.

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Title Nicotine improves memory for delayed intentions
Author(s) Rusted, Jennifer M.
Trawley, StevenORCID iD for Trawley, Steven
Heath, Jenna
Kettle, Gemma
Walker, Helen
Journal name Psychopharmacology
Volume number 182
Issue number 3
Start page 355
End page 365
Total pages 11
Publisher Springer
Place of publication Dordrecht, The Netherlands
Publication date 2005
ISSN 0033-3158
Keyword(s) nicotine
prospective memory
strategic vs. automatic processes
delayed intentions
Summary Rationale
The present paper asked first whether the cholinergic agonist nicotine improves memory for delayed intentions (prospective memory, ProM) and second whether pharmacological dissociation would support the psychological distinction that is made between strategic (effortful) and automatic (non-effortful) intention activation in prospective memory.

To use nicotine as a pharmacological tool with which to examine the neurochemical bases of prospective memory and to dissociate strategic from automatic components of ProM retrieval.

In three experiments, minimally deprived (2 h) smokers either smoked or abstained prior to completing a standard prospective memory study. This involved participants in the simultaneous processing of a ProM task and a cover task (ongoing between the setting and the recall of the intention). Here, the ongoing task involved lexical decision (LDT), while the ProM task required a response to pre-specified target items occurring within the LDT stimuli. Variations in task instructions were used to manipulate the processing requirements of the ProM task, the attention allocated to the ProM task and the balance of importance assigned to the ongoing and ProM tasks.

In experiment 1, where the ProM processing was automatic, nicotine did not improve ProM accuracy. In experiment 2, where the ProM task involved strategic processing, positive effects of nicotine were observed. In experiment 3, we covaried ProM task instructions, assigned task importance and nicotine conditions. We observed a main effect of nicotine on ProM accuracy, a main effect of task on ProM accuracy and a main effect of assigned task importance on ProM accuracy. There were no interactions between the factors.

Employing both direct and indirect manipulations of strategic engagement, we demonstrated nicotine-induced enhancement of performance on the ProM task. The results are consistent with the view that relatively small changes in instruction and in task variables engage strategic processing in a ProM task and that when these conditions stretch cognitive resources, nicotine may significantly improve performance.
Language eng
Field of Research 170101 Biological Psychology (Neuropsychology, Psychopharmacology, Physiological Psychology)
Socio Economic Objective 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2005, Springer
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Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Health
School of Psychology
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Created: Mon, 16 Dec 2013, 20:15:10 EST by Steven Trawley

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