Document Detail

Alcohol seeking by rats: action or habit?
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  12350285     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
In two experiments, we examined the relative susceptibility to outcome devaluation of lever pressing by rats for either a 10% ethanol solution or food pellets. The rats were trained to press different levers for these two reinforcers using a sucrose-substitution procedure. An aversion was then conditioned from either the ethanol solution or the food pellets by pairing consumption with illness induced by lithium chloride. When instrumental performance was subsequently tested in extinction, the rats pressed less on the pellet lever if the pellets, rather than the ethanol, had been devalued by aversion conditioning. By contrast, performance on the ethanol lever was unaffected by whether the ethanol or pellets were devalued. Moreover, noncontingent presentations of the devalued reinforcer had no impact on test performance. The differential resistance to outcome devaluation suggests that, in contrast to food seeking, alcohol seeking is a stimulus-response habit rather than a goal-directed action mediated by a representation of the action-outcome contingency.
Anthony Dickinson; Nigel Wood; Janice W Smith
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The Quarterly journal of experimental psychology. B, Comparative and physiological psychology     Volume:  55     ISSN:  0272-4995     ISO Abbreviation:  Q J Exp Psychol B     Publication Date:  2002 Oct 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2002-09-27     Completed Date:  2002-12-31     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8107270     Medline TA:  Q J Exp Psychol B     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  331-48     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EB, UK.
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MeSH Terms
Alcohol Drinking / physiopathology,  psychology*
Avoidance Learning / drug effects,  physiology
Behavior, Addictive / psychology
Conditioning, Operant / physiology
Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
Ethanol / administration & dosage*
Extinction, Psychological / physiology
Food Deprivation
Psychomotor Performance / drug effects
Reinforcement (Psychology)
Reinforcement Schedule
Sucrose / administration & dosage
Time Factors
Reg. No./Substance:
57-50-1/Sucrose; 64-17-5/Ethanol

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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