Acute Effects of Nicotine on Risky Choice among Non-Smokers

Carrie R. Pilarski, Reid L. Skeel, Mark P. Reilly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Research examining the relationship between acute nicotine use and experimental measures of risk-taking has yielded conflicting results. The present study sought to expand upon research investigating the acute impact of nicotine on risky choice among non-smokers while measuring and controlling for gender, a potentially confounding variable. Utilizing a between-group, double-blind, experimental design, 69 participants were randomly assigned to one of three conditions (placebo, 2 mg, or 4 mg nicotine gum). Participants completed two behavioral risk-taking measures and a motor control task. Individuals in the nicotine conditions demonstrated a main effect of decreased risk-taking on one measure. An interaction between nicotine, gender and risk-taking was found on the second measure of risk-taking, with only males showing decreased risk-taking in higher nicotine conditions. Results suggest nicotine has an acute effect on non-smokers’ patterns of risk-taking, and provide direction for further research on differential effects of nicotine on risk-taking tasks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-159
Number of pages9
JournalPsychological Record
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 30 2014


  • Impulsivity
  • Nicotine
  • Risk-taking


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