Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Habib, Reza

Second Advisor

Gilbert, David


One of the main reasons smokers struggle to quit is the cognitive deficits caused by abstinence. Bupropion (BUP) and nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) are two of the three FDA-approved efficacious pharmacotherapies to assist in nicotine abstinence. Very little is known about the differences between the neurocognitive effects of NRT and BUP. This dissertation analyzed a dataset of electroencephalogram (EEG) collected while participants performed a visuospatial dot-localization task (DOTLOC). In the study, 119 smokers were randomly divided into 4 groups (BUP, NRT, placebo, and delayed-quit controls) for 6 sessions – one baseline experimental session, four treatment sessions and one post-treatment session after 67 days of abstinence. During the task, source-localized theta, alpha, and beta activity were obtained for the four groups (NRT and BUP, placebo, and delay-quit smokers) at three network-related regions of interest (ROIs). After 3 and 24 days of abstinence, NRT contrasted with placebo showed increases in high frequency current source density (CSD) and decrease in low-frequency CSD. After 3 days of abstinence, BUP contrasted with placebo showed increase in theta and beta CSD at parietal sites and decrease in spectral CSD at frontal and temporal sites. When contrasted with NRT, BUP showed an increase in low-frequency CSD at parietal regions, and decrease in low and high-frequency at temporal and frontal regions. A significant difference was also found in abstinent smokers at 66 days compared to pre-quit session and smoking controls, with a significant increase in parietal alpha activity and a significant decrease in beta CSD. This was the first research to look at the neurocognitive effects of bupropion compared to NRT, as well as the first to identify the long-term changes caused by tobacco abstinence on task-related cortical activity.




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