Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts




Dr. Harry Prapavessis


Background: In a non-smoking population exercise and nicotine have been shown to increase cognition (Guirguis, 2016). In non-deprived smoking model it is unknown if the exercise will provide the same benefit seen in non-smokers.

Methods: A randomized counterbalanced crossover study design was utilized. The primary outcome was working memory accuracy and reaction time measured by n-back assessments (i.e., 3-back).

Results: A repeated measure ANOVA revealed a significant treatment effect for accuracy on the 3-back [F (24) = 8.118, p=.002, n2=.404]. Post-hoc paired sample t-tests uncovered a significant improvement in accuracy from baseline and the exercise condition [t (25) = 2.605, p=.015, d = .511], improvement in accuracy from baseline and the nicotine inhalation condition [t (25) = 3.447, p = .002, d= .676]. Non-significant differences were observed between the two treatments groups [t (25) = .892, p=.381, d=.175]. A repeated measures ANOVA revealed a non-significant treatment effect for RT on the 3-back [F (24) = .428, p=.772, n2=0.021].

Conclusion: Exercise is pragmatically as effective as nicotine in improving acute working memory accuracy without a compromise in reaction time.

Available for download on Saturday, May 02, 2020

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