Roberts: Well, my theory on this is that the Japanese have added it to energy drinks for other reasons...
Look, it's like this, I don't smoke, but I couldn't care less if someone in a bar is smoking, alright? But now, you can't do that in New Jersey, where I'm from. So what's being done is that the bars are now carrying those "energy drinks." And a lot of major energy drink manufacturers are adding nicotine to their formulas and promoting them as mixers with Vodka or whatever.
But yeah, nicotine is a pretty potent cognitive enhancer. The Nicotinic systems in the hippocampus play important roles in memory function, and in fact, a reduced nicotinic receptor concentration is associated with severe cognitive impairment, like that seen with schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease.
Nicotine and nicotinic agonists are strongly and positively correlated with improved memory function, and even have a strong anti-depressant effect.