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Cigarette smoking, physiological arousal, and emotional response: Nesbitt's Paradox re-examined

Authors
Journal
Addictive Behaviors
0306-4603
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
9
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/0306-4603(84)90012-1
Disciplines
  • Biology

Abstract

Abstract Nicotine's paradoxical effects on arousal and mood are poorly understood. An experiment by Nesbitt suggested that smokers behave more relaxed as their smoking-induced physiological arousal increases. The present study attempted to replicate Nesbitt's Paradox. In smoking and sham-smoking sessions, 10 smokers were administered a series of progressively stronger electric shocks. Pain thresholds and MAACL Anxiety scores measured emotional arousal while heart rate increases served as indices of physiological arousal. All measurements were taken automatically in order to minimize experimenter-subject interaction. Smoking increased heart rate but had no effect on thresholds or MAACL scores. Emotional and physiological arousal showed a significant positive relationship ( r = .65), contradicting Nesbitt's report of an inverse relationship. This suggests that Nesbitt's Paradox may not be a robust phenomenon.

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