It has been suggested that one mechanism by which nicotine may exert an influence over behavior is by enhancing the reinforcing properties of other stimuli. We therefore sought to test the hypothesis that nicotine enhances the hedonic impact of behaviors performed in the presence of nicotine, using ratings of facial attractiveness, as we considered these to have considerable ecological validity in the context of the social environment within which cigarette smoking takes place. Male and female participants attended a single testing session and were randomized to smoke either a nicotine-containing or a denicotinized cigarette, after which they completed ratings of attractiveness of 20 male and 20 female faces. Participants were required to have abstained from smoking for 24 hr prior to testing, and the nicotine manipulation was conducted double blind. A 2 x 2 x 2 mixed-model repeated measures analysis of variance indicated a significant main effect of cigarette, reflecting higher attractiveness ratings in the nicotinized compared with the denicotinized condition. Our data indicate that nicotine increases ratings of attractiveness of facial cues. We did not observe any evidence that these effects differed between males and females. We also did not observe effects on subjective ratings of mood, suggesting that the effects we observed on ratings of attractiveness may not simply reflect global hedonic effects, or a positivity bias in questionnaire responding, in the nicotine condition.
|Translated title of the contribution
|Effects of acute nicotine administration on ratings of attractiveness of facial cues
|44 - 48
|Number of pages
|Nicotine and Tobacco Research
|Published - Jan 2009