Arousal theory and the interrelationships of caffeine, nicotine and impulsivity
White, Thomas James
Smith, Barry D
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Nicotine, caffeine, impulsivity, and arousal are all intercorrelated: both drugs increase arousal, and impulsivity is theoretically related to arousal. However, the independent and joint effects of nicotine and caffeine on impulsive behavior are unclear. In this study, male college students (N = 63) were administered either caffeine or lactose placebo (double-blind) and either nicotine or placebo cigarettes (double-blind). Participants engaged in three behavioral tasks: the Stop Signal Task (SST), the Stroop Color-Word Test (SCWT), and the Delay Discounting Task (DDT). Drug intake did not produce significant changes across conditions on any of the three tasks. The hypothesis that caffeine and nicotine have an interactive effect on impulsivity in men was not supported by the data. Potential reasons for the lack of significant findings include variability within the sample on consumption history.