The focus of this proposal is to provide the applicant with the skills, experience, and mentoring to become an independent researcher with a focus on understanding the neurobehavioral determinants of nicotine dependence. The training plan outlined in this proposal will allow me to expand my skills by providing an opportunity to become proficient in the use of event-related potential (ERP) electroencephalography (EEC) techniques to study attentional and emotional mechanisms related to nicotine dependence. This work will be conducted at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, where I will be mentored by distinguished scientists in the field of nicotine dependence. This multidisciplinary team will provide oversight of my research and training experiences by providing specific expertise in the areas of neurobehavior, ERP, attentional biases, and gender differences of smoking. The focus of the Research Plan is to gain a greater understanding of the attentional biases of smokers in order to expand our knowledge of how drug and affective cues help to maintain neural sensitization to drugs of abuse. The proposed study would be the first to evaluate the attentional bias of smokers using a within-subjects balanced placebo design, allowing for the separation of the effects of nicotine from the effects of smoking cues on ERP attentional response to smoking and affective cues.
The specific aims of this proposal are (a) to distinguish the effects of nicotine's pharmacological properties from those resulting from learned associations on the attentional distraction by smoking and affective cues in dependent smokers, (b) to determine whether gender differences exist in the attentional distraction by smoking and affective cues, (c) to determine whether the expectation of imminent tobacco use increases the attentional distraction by smoking and affective cues, and (d) to assess whether ERP measures of attentional distraction by smoking and affective cues correlate with traditional self-reported measures of nicotine dependence, craving, and affect.

Public Health Relevance

Smoking dependence is thought to be maintained by the brain's attentional bias towards cues in the environment that remind the dependent invidual of smoking. This study will use event-related potential (ERP) EEG technology to investigate these attentional biases and circumstances that provoke them.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (K23)
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Human Development Research Subcommittee (NIDA)
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Kautz, Mary A
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University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Robinson, Jason D; Engelmann, Jeffery M; Cui, Yong et al. (2014) The effects of nicotine dose expectancy and motivationally relevant distracters on vigilance. Psychol Addict Behav 28:752-60
Robinson, Jason D; Lam, Cho Y; Carter, Brian L et al. (2012) Negative reinforcement smoking outcome expectancies are associated with affective response to acute nicotine administration and abstinence. Drug Alcohol Depend 120:196-201
Robinson, Jason D; Lam, Cho Y; Carter, Brian L et al. (2011) A multimodal approach to assessing the impact of nicotine dependence, nicotine abstinence, and craving on negative affect in smokers. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol 19:40-52