Document Detail

Concurrent glucocorticoid and noradrenergic activity shifts instrumental behavior from goal-directed to habitual control.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  20554869     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Stress modulates instrumental action in favor of habitual stimulus-response processes that are insensitive to changes in outcome value and at the expense of goal-directed action-outcome processes. The neuroendocrine mechanism underlying this phenomenon is unknown. Here, we tested the hypothesis that concurrent glucocorticoid and noradrenergic activity bias instrumental behavior toward habitual performance. To this end, healthy men and women received hydrocortisone, the alpha2-adrenoceptor antagonist yohimbine or both orally before they were trained in two instrumental actions leading to two distinct food outcomes. After training, one of the outcomes was devalued by inviting participants to eat that food to satiety. A subsequent extinction test revealed whether instrumental performance was goal-directed or habitual. Participants that received hydrocortisone or yohimbine alone decreased responding to the devalued action in the extinction test, i.e., they behaved goal-directed. The combined administration of hydrocortisone and yohimbine, however, rendered participants' behavior insensitive to changes in the value of the goal (i.e., habitual). These findings demonstrate that the concerted action of glucocorticoids and noradrenergic activity shifts instrumental behavior from goal-directed to habitual control.
Lars Schwabe; Martin Tegenthoff; Oliver Höffken; Oliver T Wolf
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Clinical Trial; Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience     Volume:  30     ISSN:  1529-2401     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Neurosci.     Publication Date:  2010 Jun 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-06-17     Completed Date:  2010-07-02     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8102140     Medline TA:  J Neurosci     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  8190-6     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Cognitive Psychology, Ruhr-University Bochum, 44780 Bochum, Germany.
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MeSH Terms
Adrenergic alpha-Antagonists / pharmacology
Analysis of Variance
Blood Pressure / drug effects
Conditioning, Operant / drug effects,  physiology*
Drug Interactions
Glucocorticoids / metabolism*
Hydrocortisone / metabolism,  pharmacology
Memory / drug effects
Motivation / drug effects,  physiology*
Norepinephrine / analogs & derivatives*,  metabolism
Reaction Time / drug effects
Saliva / metabolism
Yohimbine / pharmacology
Young Adult
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Adrenergic alpha-Antagonists; 0/Glucocorticoids; 146-48-5/Yohimbine; 499-61-6/noradrenalone; 50-23-7/Hydrocortisone; 51-41-2/Norepinephrine

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