The Influence of Instructions and Nicotine Dose on the Subjective and Reinforcing Effects of Smoking

Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 2004 May;12(2):91-101. doi: 10.1037/1064-1297.12.2.91.


Subjective and reinforcing effects of smoking a cigarette were examined within a 2 x 2 modified balanced-placebo design, which manipulated instructions about nicotine content (i.e., told regular nicotine vs. told low nicotine) and actual nicotine dose (given a regular nicotine brand vs. a denicotinized brand). Most ratings of the nicotine content and reward value of cigarettes were higher for those told regular nicotine versus told low nicotine, and for those given regular nicotine versus given low nicotine. Nicotine and instructions did not affect craving, withdrawal, or smoke-reinforced responding, but instructions affected the number of puffs earned for those given low nicotine (i.e., placebo effect). Thus, verbal information (instructions) can influence some responses to smoking consistent with the presence of placebo and antiplacebo effects.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nicotine / administration & dosage*
  • Reinforcement, Psychology*
  • Reward
  • Smoking*


  • Nicotine