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David Evans, PhD

Academic Rank: Assistant Member



    • Health Outcomes and Behavior
    • Thoracic Oncology
    • Tobacco Research & Intervention Program
    • Health Outcomes & Behavior Program

Education & Training


  • University of Oregon, MS - Psychology
  • University of Oregon, PhD - Psychology

Dr. Evans’ work seeks to understand the effects of nicotine on attention and related cognitive processes.  The capacity to pay attention is important and necessary for the efficient completion of daily tasks, and some smokers may find smoking more reinforcing because of nicotine’s capacity to enhance attentional control. Dr. Evans is currently working on funded projects that examine genetic moderation of the effects of nicotine on attention and related cognitive processes.  Preliminary findings from these studies suggest that brain chemical-related genetic variants may moderate the effects of nicotine on neural indices of attentional control.  Individuals with genetic variants associated with suboptimal brain activity may experience greater cognitive benefits from nicotine, suggesting nicotine self medication of cognitive processing.  This research program may contribute to the development of tailored behavioral and/or pharmacotherapy treatment programs that target individual smoker characteristics (e.g., smokers with attentional deficits).


  • Evans DE, To CN, Ashare RL. The Role of Cognitive Control in the Self-Regulation and Reinforcement of Smoking Behavior. Nicotine Tob Res. 2018 Feb. Pubmedid: 29432572.
  • Oliver JA, Evans DE, Addicott MA, Potts GF, Brandon TH, Drobes DJ. Nicotine Withdrawal Induces Neural Deficits in Reward Processing. Nicotine Tob Res. 2017 Jun;19(6):686-693. Pubmedid: 28371807.
  • Evans DE, Sutton SK, Jentink KG, Lin HY, Park JY, Drobes DJ. Cannabinoid receptor 1 (CNR1) gene variant moderates neural index of cognitive disruption during nicotine withdrawal. Genes Brain Behav. 2016 Sep;15(7):621-626. Pubmedid: 27453054. Pmcid: PMC6027743.
  • Sutton SK, Van Rensburg KJ, Jentink KG, Drobes DJ, Evans DE. Nicotine-induced cortical activation among nonsmokers with moderation by trait cognitive control. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2016 Jun;233(12):2301-2308. Pubmedid: 27044353. Pmcid: PMC6036628.
  • Harrell PT, Lin HY, Park JY, Blank MD, Drobes DJ, Evans DE. Dopaminergic genetic variation moderates the effect of nicotine on cigarette reward. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2016 Jan;233(2):351-360. Pubmedid: 26497691. Pmcid: PMC5808950.
  • Oliver JA, Jentink KG, Drobes DJ, Evans DE. Smokers exhibit biased neural processing of smoking and affective images. Health Psychol. 2016 Aug;35(8):866-869. Pubmedid: 27505209. Pmcid: PMC5796754.
  • Evans DE, Sutton SK, Oliver JA, Drobes DJ. Cortical activity differs during nicotine deprivation versus satiation in heavy smokers. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2015 Jun;232(11):1879-1885. Pubmedid: 25491928. Pmcid: PMC4426214.
  • Evans DE, MacQueen D, Jentink KG, Park JY, Lin HY, Drobes DJ. CHRNA5 variants moderate the effect of nicotine deprivation on a neural index of cognitive control. Genes Brain Behav. 2014 Sep;13(7):626-632. Pubmedid: 24934182. Pmcid: PMC4178975.
  • Evans DE, Jentink KG, Sutton SK, Van Rensburg KJ, Drobes DJ. 7 mg nicotine patch fails to enhance P300 neural indices of cognitive control among nonsmokers. Pharmacol Biochem Be. 2014 Nov;126:77-82. Pubmedid: 25218552.
  • Potts GF, Bloom EL, Evans DE, Drobes DJ. Neural reward and punishment sensitivity in cigarette smokers. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2014 Nov;144:245-253. Pubmedid: 25292454. Pmcid: PMC4282774.
  • Macqueen DA, Heckman BW, Blank MD, Janse Van Rensburg K, Park JY, Drobes DJ, Evans DE. Variation in the α 5 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunit gene predicts cigarette smoking intensity as a function of nicotine content. Pharmacogenomics J. 2014 Feb;14(1):70-76. Pubmedid: 23358500. Pmcid: PMC3778124.
  • Tseng TS, Park JY, Zabaleta J, Moody-Thomas S, Sothern MS, Chen T, Evans DE, Lin HY. Role of nicotine dependence on the relationship between variants in the nicotinic receptor genes and risk of lung adenocarcinoma. PLoS One. 2014;9(9):e107268. Pubmedid: 25233467. Pmcid: PMC4169410.
  • Evans DE, Maxfield ND, Van Rensburg KJ, Oliver JA, Jentink KG, Drobes DJ. Nicotine deprivation influences P300 markers of cognitive control. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2013 Nov;38(12):2525-2531. Pubmedid: 23807239. Pmcid: PMC3799074.
  • Bloom EL, Potts GF, Evans DE, Drobes DJ. Cue reactivity in smokers: an event-related potential study. Int J Psychophysiol. 2013 Nov;90(2):258-264. Pubmedid: 23958866. Pmcid: PMC4282775.
  • Macqueen DA, Heckman BW, Blank MD, Janse Van Rensburg K, Evans DE, Drobes DJ. Transient compensatory smoking in response to placebo cigarettes. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2012 Sep;223(1):47-54. Pubmedid: 22427021. Pmcid: PMC3802524.
  • Evans DE, Craig C, Oliver JA, Drobes DJ. The smoking N-back: a measure of biased cue processing at varying levels of cognitive load. Nicotine Tob Res. 2011 Feb;13(2):88-93. Pubmedid: 21127029.
  • Hitsman B, Shen BJ, Cohen RA, Morissette SB, Drobes DJ, Spring B, Schneider K, Evans DE, Gulliver SB, Kamholz BW, Price LH, Niaura R. Measuring smoking-related preoccupation and compulsive drive: evaluation of the obsessive compulsive smoking scale. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2010 Sep;211(4):377-387. Pubmedid: 20582399. Pmcid: PMC2908436.
  • Evans DE, Rothbart MK. A Two-Factor Model of Temperament. Pers Individ Dif. 2009 Oct;47(6):565-570. Pubmedid: 20161172. Pmcid: PMC2722842.
  • Evans D, Drobes D. Nicotine self-medication of cognitive-attentional processing. Addict Biol. 2009 Jan;14(1):32-42. Pubmedid: 18855804.
  • Evans DE, Park JY, Maxfield N, Drobes DJ. Neurocognitive variation in smoking behavior and withdrawal: genetic and affective moderators. Genes Brain Behav. 2009 Feb;8(1):86-96. Pubmedid: 19220487.
  • Drobes D, Elibero A, Evans D. Attentional bias for smoking and affective stimuli: a stroop task study. Psychol Addict Behav. 2006 Dec;20(4):490-495. Pubmedid: 17176185.
  • Posner MI, Rothbart MK, Vizueta N, Levy KN, Evans DE, Thomas KM, Clarkin JF. Attentional mechanisms of borderline personality disorder. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Dec;99(25):16366-16370. Pubmedid: 12456876. Pmcid: PMC138617.
  • Rothbart MK, Ahadi SA, Evans DE. Temperament and personality: origins and outcomes. J Pers Soc Psychol. 2000 Jan;78(1):122-135. Pubmedid: 10653510.