Nicotine: Learning and Memory

An examination of the psychological and physiological effects of nicotine on learning and memory.

The paper examines the extensive research which has been completed on the physiological effects of nicotine – the addictive substance found in cigarettes – on the human body. The paper discusses the findings of this research which shows that nicotine, although addictive, may have some properties that could be considered beneficial in regards to learning and memory, particularly some tasks involving the consumption of nicotine before the completion of a specific memory/learning task.

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“The study by Crooks and Dwoskin (1997) say that many people that smoke cigarettes because of the immediate stimulation on the CNS that elevates mood and arousal. Smoking cigarettes causes the tobacco to release nicotine metabolites, which are probably responsible for the main effects on the CNS. Nicotine metabolites are thought to effect dopaminergic neurotransmission, and thus creating pleasurable feelings and an increased state of arousal. Different subtypes of nicotine metabolites could be present in different types of tabacco, therefore yielding many different feelings and reactions by the CNS. The reaction by the CNS is thought to be caused primarily by the nicotine metabolites, and not the nicotine itself. (Crooks & Dwoskin, 1997).”