Introduction: Smokers may experience decreased sensitivity to nondrug incentives during acute smoking deprivation. This decreased sensitivity may undermine attempts to encourage continued abstinence by enhancing cognitive processes through the use of monetary incentives. This study assessed whether the capacity for monetary incentives to enhance cognitive performance was compromised in nicotine-deprived smokers. Method: Eighteen smokers performed an incentivized Go/NoGo task on 2 occasions, once after smoking as usual prior to the session, and once after undergoing 12-hr abstinence. Participants could earn up to $5.00 ($2.50 per session) based on their performance on reward blocks of the Go/NoGo task. Results: Performance was significantly more accurate on incentivized NoGo, frequent-Go, and infrequent-Go trials relative to neutral trials during the smoke as usual session. Participants also produced fewer premature, impulsive responses on rewarded versus neutral blocks during the smoke as usual session. No significant difference between reward and neutral blocks was observed on any of the 4 performance indices during the abstinent session. Conclusions: The ability for monetary incentives to enhance inhibitory control may be compromised during acute abstinence in smokers. These findings may have implications for contingency management treatment programs which are thought to promote continued abstinence partly by facilitating the allocation of cognitive resources to processes that encourage continued abstinence by increasing the value associated with continued abstinence.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health