Journal Article 1)
Smoking has been associated with both enhanced and impaired cognitive performance; across a variety of domains, but there is limited evidence demonstrating the effects on verbal learning.
The current study assessed the effect of smoking and abstinence on verbal learning, immediate memory and retention using the Auditory Verbal Learning Test (AVLT).
Three groups: 20 smokers, 20 abstaining smokers and 20 non-smoking adults were assessed on the AVLT on two occasions. At session one, abstaining smokers refrained from smoking for 12 h (pre-cigarette), whilst smokers had continued to smoke to satiety. Session two commenced after a 15-min break when both smoking groups were instructed to smoke a cigarette, followed by administration of the second version of the AVLT (post-cigarette).
Abstaining smokers showed significant deficits in learning compared to smokers during the pre-cigarette session. Following re-initiation of smoking in the abstaining smokers, these learning decrements were no longer evident. There were trends towards significant group findings in immediate memory and retention during the pre-cigarette session, which again were no longer evident in the post-cigarette session.
These findings provide further evidence that smoking abstinence affects verbal learning and furthermore smoking simply restores cognitive performance to pre-abstinence levels.