Paradoxical tranquilizing and emotion-reducing effects of nicotine

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Abstract

Reviews investigations of the effects of nicotine on emotion and on indices of central and autonomic nervous system arousal. Mechanisms that may account for the paradoxical finding that nicotine increases autonomic nervous system end-organ arousal yet has frequently been reported to reduce self-report and behavioral indices of emotion are evaluated. A number of mechanisms have been proposed, but none are backed by a convincing network of supportive data. The literature suggests that the mechanism(s) by which nicotine reduces indices of emotion is influenced by a wide variety of variables, including behavioral activity level, CNS arousal level, type of emotion, time since the administration of the drug, and the rate and dose of its administration. There is the need to demonstrate a paradigm that reliably causes nicotine-induced reductions of emotion. Once reliability has been established, further studies can vary the paradigm's potentially influential variables. (3 p ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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