Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Kertz, Sarah

Second Advisor

Gilbert, David

Third Advisor

Hoane, Michael


Researchers have studied nicotine’s ability to attenuate stress and negative affect for decades, but there has been limited research into the cortical regions most responsible for these effects. Recent paradigms have emerged that define large-scale neural networks that operate in conjunction to elicit complex effects: the Default Mode Network (DMN), the Executive Control Network (ECN), and the Salience Network (SN). The current study utilized archival topographic (surface) EEG recordings to analyze the tomographic (3-dimensional) cortical differences in three major large-scale neural networks during relaxing and task-induced anticipatory stress resting states while nicotine-satiated and nicotine-deprived, and as a function of trait negative affect (NA). Various interaction and main effects of nicotine use, stress, and NA occurred in the connectivity between regions of interest (ROIs) of all three networks. Total current source density (CSD) analyses demonstrated an interaction between smoking and stress, such that the effects of smoking and stress were highest during the combination of deprivation and stress, and lowest when individuals were in nicotine satiated and in the low stress condition. A whole-brain exploratory analysis also identified a significant interaction between smoking and NA in the postcentral gyrus.




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