Smoking and Raven IQ

Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1994 Nov;116(3):382-4. doi: 10.1007/BF02245346.


Nicotine has recently been shown to enhance measures of information processing speed including the decision time (DT) component of simple and choice reaction time and the string length measure of evoked potential waveform complexity. Both (DT and string length) have been previously demonstrated to correlate with performance on standard intelligence tests (IQ). We therefore hypothesised that nicotine is acting to improve intellectual performance on the elementary information processing correlates of IQ. In the current experiment we tested this hypothesis using the Raven Advanced Progressive Matrices (APM) test. APM scores were significantly higher in the smoking session compared to the non-smoking session, suggesting that nicotine acts to enhance physiological processes underlying performance on intellectual tasks.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Autonomic Pathways / drug effects
  • Autonomic Pathways / physiology
  • Decision Making / drug effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intelligence Tests*
  • Male
  • Parasympathetic Nervous System / drug effects
  • Parasympathetic Nervous System / physiology
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / drug effects
  • Smoking / psychology*


  • Receptors, Nicotinic