Over 400,000 people visited Farnam Street last month to learn howto make better decisions, create new ideas, and avoid stupid errors. With more than 100,000 subscribers to our popular weekly digest, we've become an online intellectual hub. To learn more about what we do, start here.
Do you smoke?
I hope not — Craving nicotine might impact your cognitive functioning:
Cigarette craving has powerful effects on cognitive functioning, which may promote smoking behavior and relapse. One area of cognition that has had little impact on craving research is human consciousness. Developments in consciousness research using a mindless-reading paradigm permit examination of the effects of craving on both the occurrence and the awareness of mental lapses. Forty-four smokers, who were either nicotine deprived (crave condition) or nondeprived (low-crave condition), performed a mindless-reading task. This task assesses both self-caught and probe-caught mind-wandering episodes to distinguish between lapses that are within and outside of awareness. Compared with the low cravers, those in the cigarette-crave condition were significantly more likely to acknowledge that their mind was wandering when they were probed. When we adjusted for this more-than-threefold increase in zoning out, craving also lowered the probability of catching oneself. Results suggest that craving simultaneously increases mental lapses while reducing the metacognitive capacity to notice them.