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  IN THIS Article
 ::  Abstract
 ::  Introduction
 ::  Material and method
 ::  Results
 ::  Discussion
 ::  References

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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 1991  |  Volume : 37  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 209-10

Study of reaction time in smokers.


Department of Psysiology, T. N. Medical College, Bombay, Maharashtra.

Correspondence Address:
Department of Psysiology, T. N. Medical College, Bombay, Maharashtra.


  ::  Abstract

A significant decrease in the visual and auditory reaction times (VRT and ART) was found in 50 smokers as compared to healthy controls of the same age group (P less than 0.001). The acute effect of smoking one cigarette was also studied in the same group of smokers and a statistically significant reduction was found (P less than 0.001) as compared to their basal VRT and ART.

How to cite this article:
Ichaporia R B, Kulkarni S P, Malthi A, Parulkar V G. Study of reaction time in smokers. J Postgrad Med 1991;37:209


How to cite this URL:
Ichaporia R B, Kulkarni S P, Malthi A, Parulkar V G. Study of reaction time in smokers. J Postgrad Med [serial online] 1991 [cited 2021 Sep 27];37:209. Available from: https://www.jpgmonline.com/text.asp?1991/37/4/209/757




  ::   Introduction Top

Reaction time is a very powerful means of relating mental events to physical measures[10]. A definite correlation has been found between arousal and reaction time. 9 Smokers often claim that their cigarettes are an aid to mental concentration[5].
The subjects of our study claimed that they smoked in order to increase their concentration and to relieve anxiety and hence visual reaction time and auditory reaction time (VRT and ART) in smokers was determined as a measure of arousal.

  ::   Material and method Top

VRT and ART of 50 healthy adult males (control) in the age group of 35-45 years, were compared with the basal VRT and ART of 50 male chronic smokers. The measurements were done at the same time of the day and under similar environmental conditions. Smokers selected were chronic smokers who smoked minimum for 5 years and about 10 cigarettes/day. Acute effect of smoking on VRT and ART was again determined in smokers (3 min after smoking one cigarette of 'Wills Filter' brand). The results were compared with the basal readings of smokers. VRT and ART were determined with the apparatus described earlier by Malthi et al[6].

  ::   Results Top

Control VRT of healthy adults was 220.34 ? 14.62 msec as compared to basal VRT of 207.06 ? 26.99 msecs in smokers. This difference was also statistically significant. (P < 0.001)
Control ART of healthy adults was 190.76 ? 20.81 msecs as compared to basal ART of 174.66 ? 24.90 msecs in smokers. This difference was also statistically significant.
Basal VRT of smokers declined from 207.06 ? 26.99 msecs to 172.44 ? 22.71 msecs and basal ART of smokers declined from 174.66 ? 24.90 msecs to 144.96 ? 19.53 msecs after smoking one cigarette. Both the reductions in reaction times were statistically significant.

  ::   Discussion Top

In our study there is a statistically significant decrease in the basal VRT and ART of smokers as compared to healthy controls.
Myrsten et a [7] have claimed that cigarette smoking tends to shorten reaction time. Hauser et al[4] studied EEG changes in healthy adults and showed an increase in dominant ? frequency, which probably demonstrates that smoking in some way affects central nervous system.
Surwillo[8] found definite relationship between EEG measures of arousal and reaction time and has shown close correlation between reaction time and frequency of ? rhythm indicating increase arossal.
In our study also the shorter VRT and ART in smokers could be due to increased arousal.
After smoking one cigarette a significant decrease in VRT and ART has been noticed. Literature suggests that nicotine in the quantities taken by human smoker can be a central nervous system stimulant drug[3]. The stimulating action of nicotine on the human nervous system has also been accepted by RG Bell[1]. Chessick[2] put forward suggestion that smoker may experience lessening of tension and anxiety thereby enabling him to work at an increased level of efficiency.
Thus in our study the decrease in VRT and ART after one cigarette could be due to the stimulant action of nicotine on the nervous system.

  ::   References Top

1. Bell RG. In: "Tobacco Experimental and Clinical Studies", Supplement I. Baltimore: The Williams and Wilkins Company; 1968, pp 289. Lemere, F.: Effects of smoking. (Letter) JAMA 1964; 189:382.  Back to cited text no. 1    
2.Eysenck HJ. In: "Smoking Health and personality". Weidenfeld, Nicolson, editors. London: 1965, as quoted by Larson PS, Silvette H. In: "Tobacco Experimental and Clinical Studies" Supplement I. Baltimore: The Williams and Wilkins Company; 1968, pp 289.  Back to cited text no. 2    
3.Hauser H, Schwarz BE, Roth G, Bickford RG. Electro-encephalographic changes related to smoking. Electroenceph Clin Neurophysiol 1958; 10:576.  Back to cited text no. 3    
4.Larson PS, Silvette H. In: "Tobacco Experimental and Clinical Studies". Supplement I. Baltimore: The Williams and Wilkins Company; 1968, pp 287.  Back to cited text no. 4    
5.Malathi A, Parulkar VG. Apparatus for the measurement of reaction time. Ind J Physiol and Pharmacol 1987; 31:104-106.  Back to cited text no. 5    
6.Myrsten, Anna-Lisa, Anderson Karin. Interaction between effects of alcohol intake and cigarette smoking, Reports from the psychological laboratories no. 402, University of Stockhol.  Back to cited text no. 6    
7.Surwillo WN. Relationship between EEG activation and reaction time. Perpet Motor Skills 1969; 29:3-7.  Back to cited text no. 7    
8.Thompson LW, Botwinick J. Age differences in the relationship between EEG arousal and reaction time. J of Psychol 1968; 68:167-172.  Back to cited text no. 8    
9.Welford AT. In: "Reaction times". London: Academic Press Inc; 1980, pp 349.   Back to cited text no. 9    

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Online since 12th February '04
2004 - Journal of Postgraduate Medicine
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