Neural correlates of performance monitoring in daily and intermittent smokers

Olga Rass, Daniel J. Fridberg, Brian F. O'Donnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Objectives: Despite efforts that have increased smoking regulation, cigarette taxation, and social stigma, cigarette smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death worldwide, and a significant personal and public economic burden. In the U.S., intermittent smokers comprise approximately 22% of all smokers and represent a stable, non-dependent group that may possess protective factors that prevent the transition to dependence. One possibility is that intermittent smokers have intact CNS frontal regulatory and control mechanisms that enable resistance to nicotine-induced changes. Methods: The present study measured inhibitory control using a flanker task and a go-nogo continuous performance tasks in daily dependent smokers, intermittent non-dependent smokers, and nonsmokers. Event-related potential (ERP) measures of were concurrently recorded to measure performance monitoring via Event-Related Negativity (ERN) and error positivity (Pe) components during error trials for each task. Results: In both tasks, behavioral and ERN measures did not differ between groups; however, amplitude of the Pe component was largest among intermittent smokers. Conclusions: Thus, intermittent smokers differed from both daily smokers and nonsmokers on error processing, potentially revealing neuroprotective cognitive processes in nicotine dependence. Significance: A better understanding of factors that mediate behavioral regulation may provide novel treatment approaches that help individuals achieve controlled smoking or cessation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1417-1426
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Neurophysiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • Error-related negativity
  • Event-related potentials
  • Performance monitoring
  • Smoking
  • Substance dependence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Sensory Systems
  • Medicine(all)

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