Chronic smoking may result in reduced sensitivity to non-drug rewards (e.g., money), a phenomenon particularly salient during abstinence. During a quit attempt, this effect may contribute to biased decision-making (smoking>alternative reinforcers) and relapse. Although relevant for quitting, characterization of reduced reward function in abstinent smokers remains limited. Moreover, how attenuated reward function affects other brain systems supporting decision-making has not been established. Here, we use a rewarded antisaccade (rAS) task to characterize non-drug reward processing and its influence on inhibitory control, key elements underlying decision-making, in abstinent smokers vs. non-smokers. Abstinent (12-hours) adult daily smokers (N=23) and non-smokers (N=11) underwent fMRI while performing the rAS. Behavioral performances improved on reward vs. neutral trials. Smokers showed attenuated activation in ventral striatum during the reward cue and in superior precentral sulcus and posterior parietal cortex during response preparation, but greater responses during the saccade response in posterior cingulate and parietal cortices. Smokers' attenuated anticipatory responses suggest reduced motivation from monetary reward, while heightened activation during the saccade response suggests that additional circuitry may be engaged later to enhance inhibitory task performance. Overall, this preliminary study highlights group differences in decision-making components and the utility of the rAS to characterize these effects.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Psychiatry and Mental health