P1 and N1 do not reflect the nicotine induced facilitation of the processing of unattended stimuli

Meinke, A.1, Thiel, C. M.1, and Fink, G. R.1,2
1Institute of Medicine, Research Centre Jülich, Germany; 2Department of Neurology, RWTH Aachen, Germany
E-mail: a.meinke@fz-juelich.de

We examined how nicotine affects the processing of targets in a spatial cuing paradigm. Nicotine is known to specifically reduce the costs of invalid cuing which suggests that nicotine reduces the spatial inhibition processes which underlie the costs of invalid cuing. In ERPs, the amplitude of the P100-component is often associated with the costs of invalid cuing, whereas the N100-component is thought to reflect the benefits of valid cuing. We accordingly hypothesized that nicotine specifically influences the amplitude of the P100 component to invalidly cued targets if the nicotine effects are implemented at an early visual processing level. 20 non-smokers completed a discrimination task in a within subject paradigm after chewing a nicotine gum (NICORETTE® 2 mg) or a placebo gum. Informative central cues and uninformative peripheral cues were used to orient attention to one of two target locations. Behaviourally, nicotine reduced the validity-effect in both cuing conditions. By contrast, no significant nicotine effect was found on the P100 and N100 ERP components. The data suggest that the nicotine induced reduction of the validity effect does not occur at the early visual processing level.