Cigarette cravings impair mock jurors' recall of trial evidence
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Prior research has demonstrated that cravings for substances, such as cigarettes and food, impair performance on basic cognitive tasks. This experiment examined whether these effects translate to impaired cognition on an important task in an applied setting: jury duty. Forty-six smokers were randomly allocated to a high-craving or control condition of an in vivo procedure designed to invoke cigarette cravings. Participants were then asked to act as mock jurors and read a written legal transcript based on evidence presented in an actual civil case. Later, participants were tested on their recall and recognition of information from the transcript. Participants in the high-craving condition recalled fewer correct facts from the transcript than participants in the control condition, but cravings did not significantly affect the recognition of trial information. These results are consistent with cognitive models of cravings, highlight the importance of providing jurors with sufficient breaks, and suggest that cravings may impair cognition in a variety of important applied settings.