A psychophysiological re-evaluation of Eysenck's theory concerning cigarette smoking. Part II. The autonomic nervous system
The original publication is available at http://www.samj.org.za
Eysenck states that neuroticism is a function of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). In contrast to extraversion, no study undertaken by Eysenck could reveal any relationship between neuroticism and cigarette smoking. In view of the fact that small doses of nicotine stimulate the nervous system, whereas large doses depress it, the hypothesis was tested that light and moderate smokers have less active ANS than heavy smokers. They therefore smoke for the stimulation afforded by small doses of nicotine. Heavy smokers, however, smoke for the inhibition afforded by large doses of nicotine. None of the autonomic variables fully confirmed this hypothesis. The results for pulse volume and heart rate were only partly reconcilable with the hypothesis. These results are interpreted in terms of the complex action of nicotine on the cardiovascular system, as well as the probability that smokers smoke primarily for the effect of nicotine on the central nervous system (CNS), and that the concomitant changes in the ANS are coincidental.
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