Benefits Of Nicotine: Can Nicotine Make You Smarter?

Nicotine and intelligence

Nicotine has been show time and again across many studies that it increases IQ conclusively across the board on a wide variety of tests. 

Smoking, String Length and Intelligence

The article above from PennState University is one of the first ones on the topic to ever be published, dating back to 1994. There are 5 important measures in this study: the reaction Times (RT), inspection Times (IT), decision time (DT),  movement time (MT) and string length. An excellent drug would be able to reduce all the 4 measured times, and would also increase the string length as longer string length as associated to people with higher IQ.  Nicotine hits the home run on all 4 reaction times by reducing them, and also increase the string length. Here is the conclusion of the article, you read the rest here. Conclusion:

Three repeated measures ANOVAs were calculated to test the relationship between mean string length under no-smoking and smoking conditions for central (Fz, Cz and Pz), left hemisphere (01, T5, P3, C3, T3-P3, F3, FP1 and F7) and right hemisphere (02, T6, P4, C4, T4-P4, F4, FP2 and F8) electrode sites . ANOVAs indicated that string lengths, as predicted, were significantly longer in the smoking condition than in the no-smoking condition for central (F1 ,9 = 4.3, P< 0.05) and right (F1,19 = 2.7, P< 0.05) hemisphere electrode sites, and approached significance for left hemisphere electrode sites (Ft,,y = 2 .3, P = 0.07). The relationship between string length and smoking conditions at the three groups of electrode sites is represented in Fig . 1(a), (b) and (c). The results support the hypothesis that nicotine (possibly via its effect on cholinergic pathways), enhances processing of elementary stimuli. As discussed earlier, a significant relationship between string length and IQ has been reported in many studies, with increased string lengths being associated with higher psychometric intelligence (e.g. Blinkhorn & Hendrickson, 1982 ; Haier, Robinson, Braden & Williams, 1983; Hendrickson, 1982b ; Stough, Nettelbeck & Cooper, 1990 ; Widaman, Carlson, Saetermore & Galbraith, 1993). Although the physiological mechanism involved in this relationship is not known at this stage, Hendrickson and Hendrickson (1980) have postulated that increased string lengths reflect more accurate information processing . Interestingly, such cognitive mechanisms as information processing and memory have been associated with central cholinergic pathways in clinical studies using patients with dementia (Broks, Preston, Traub, Poppleton, Ward & Stahl, 1988;Kopelman, 1987) The results of the present experiment are consistent with the hypothesis that nicotine enhances general cognitive ability. This result, if replicated, is important because it may lead to pharmacological enhancements of performance on tasks regarded as reflecting intelligence. Here are a few more studies that you might find interesting: Brain Researchers: Smoking Increases Intelligence Quitting smoking results in a decrease in brain activity, says professor.” Will a Nicotine Patch Make You Smarter? “Nicotinic receptors turn out to have the extraordinary capacity to moderate other families of receptors, quieting or amplifying their functioning. ”

Intelligence is defined in many ways: the capacity for logic, understanding, self-awareness, learning, emotional knowledge, reasoning, planning, creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving. It is not possible to perform any of this without having a good functionning memory, and therefore improving memory will automatically improve learning and problem solving as well as every other aspect regarding intelligence. Luckily there have been separate studies that focused specifically on the task of memory in regards to nicotine.

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Nicotine was investigated for its mnemonic effect in a two trials object recognition task.
In the first trial, two copies of the same object were presented. In the second trial (24 h after), one of the familiar object and a new object were presented. The time spent exploring the new object by control rats was not significantly different from the exploration time of the familiar object, indicating that they did not remember the familiar object. Rats injected with nicotine before the first trial, after the first trial or before the second trial spent more time in exploring the new object than the familiar one at the second trial. These results suggest that, in normal rats, acute nicotine enhances acquisition, consolidation and restitution of the information in an object recognition task.

Another paper we recommend is a more recent one dating from 2008 titled: “Just Say “Nootropic”: The Effects of Nicotine on memory and Learning“.

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