Recently, saccadic eye movement tasks have been used to assess the effects of nicotine on higher cognitive processes, including inhibitory control. Saccadic task switching methods suggest that there is prolonged inhibition of the saccadic eye movement system following antisaccade trials. The objective of this research was to examine effects of nicotine on inhibition using saccadic task switching paradigms.
Nicotine and placebo lozenges were administered on separate days to 40 non-smokers who performed prosaccade and antisaccade tasks. In addition, participants performed a series of trials in which prosaccade and antisaccade tasks were switched. Eye movement latencies were recorded.
Participants responded significantly faster for the nicotine condition than for the placebo condition. A switch benefit was observed for only placebo antisaccade trials, in that latencies of repetition trials were significantly longer than those of switch trials. In addition, an analysis of the repetition trials showed an interaction between saccade type and sequence position for the placebo condition, but not the nicotine condition.
Inhibition persists after antisaccade trials in a switching paradigm, but that the duration of this inhibition is reduced by nicotine. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.