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. Ok, so the above study was done on rats, but nevertheless it worked. If you doubt it works on humans, I guarantee you it does, a lot. There is no doubt on the effects nicotine has on humans. After a little more digging, you can find the following:
The effects of nicotine on learning and memory: a neuropsychological assessment in young and senescent Fischer 344 rats.
AbstractThe effects of chronic nicotine on the behavioral performance of young (4 month) and old (24 month) Fischer-344 rats were assessed on four behavioral tasks: activity chamber. rotating rod, serial pattern learning, and Morris water maze paradigm. Old and young nicotine-treated rats received an intraperitoneal injection of nicotine (0.20 mg/kg) 15 min prior to all behavioral testing, and old and young saline-treated rats received saline injections 15 min prior to all behavioral testing. Nicotine improved motor coordination and increased the general activity levels of the old rats compared to old saline-treated rats. There were no significant differences in the behaviors of the young rats in these behavioral evaluations. In young rats, nicotine improved the acquisition of a serial pattern, suggesting an improvement in working memory or related processes. Nicotine was found to increase swim speed in a Morris water maze paradigm with a hidden platform; however, no beneficial effects of nicotine in reference memory were obtained for either age group. These results suggests that nicotine may not be as beneficial in attenuating age-related learning and memory deficits as once proposed.