Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


38th Annual Convention; Seattle, WA; 2012

Event Details

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Invited Symposium #228
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
Commemoration of Charles R. Schuster's Impact on Behavioral Pharmacology and Drug Abuse
Sunday, May 27, 2012
3:30 PM–4:50 PM
6BC (Convention Center)
Area: BPH/SCI; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Chris-Ellyn Johanson (Wayne State University)
CE Instructor: Kenneth Silverman, Ph.D.

The talks presented in this symposium will celebrate the contributions of Charles R Schuster, known by everyone as Bob, to behavioral pharmacology by colleagues who directly trained with him. One of Bob's major contributions was the development of the drug self-administration paradigm demonstrating that drugs abused by humans could serve as positive reinforcers in non-human primates. Later, he extended this model of drug-taking behavior to humans. The findings that drugs were similar to other reinforcers in their ability to control behavior completely changed the conceptualization of drug abuse and the paradigm became a major component of the field of behavioral pharmacology. It also allowed the application of the tools and findings of behavioral analysis to further the understanding of the determinants of drug-taking behavior. A major variable controlling self-administration was the availability and nature of alternative reinforcers. In this symposium, each of the four talks will focus on the impact of alternative reinforcers on self-administration behavior. The final talk will demonstrate how the experimental findings in both in non-humans and humans have stimulated the development of innovative behavioral treatments for drug abuse

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): Schuster, Tribute
Target Audience:

Those interested in behavioral pharamcology, in methods of the experimental analysis of behavior, and in the history of behavior analysis.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this session, the participant should be able to:
  • Idenitfy Charles R. Schuster's immense contributions to behavior analysis, behavioral pharmacology, and science in general.
  • Articulate his contributions to the study of drug abuse and to the development of methods to treat drug abuse.

Behavioral Conditions that Decrease Drug Taking

WILLIAM L. WOOLVERTON (University of Mississippi Medical Center)

Much of behavior, including self-administration of abused drugs, may be conceptualized as involving a choice among available alternatives. Laboratory research involving non-humans has substantially contributed to our understanding of the behavioral determinants of drug choice. It has been demonstrated that the relative magnitude drug and non-drug alternatives, as well relative cost, frequency and probability of reinforcement can all influence the choice to take a drug. In recent experiments, we have found that introducing a delay between the self-administration response and drug delivery can diminish the effectiveness of a drug as a reinforcer. Similarly, delaying the delivery of punisher can decrease the effectiveness of punishment of drug self-administration. For both reinforcement and punishment, the relationship between delay and effectiveness was well predicted by a hyperbolic discounting function. Thus, research with non-humans has much to contribute to our understanding of behavioral factors that can influence drug self-administration. By extension, basic research with non-humans can help suggest behavioral treatment strategies that may be useful alone or in conjunction with pharmacological treatment.

Dr. Woolverton is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Trained as a behavioral pharmacologist, he has maintained a multi-disciplinary research effort that has included both pharmacological and behavioral analysis of factors that influence drug self-administration and drug discrimination by non-human subjects. He has published over 170 scientific papers and approximately 30 book chapters. He is well known for his work on the relationship between monoamine neurotransmitters and stimulant abuse, and for his study of the behavioral determinants of the choice to self-administer a drug. He received several awards acknowledging his research contributions. His service and teaching activities include membership on the Board of Directors of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence, several NIH Study Sections, and mentorship of numerous pre- and post-doctoral fellows in behavioral pharmacology and drug abuse research.

Schedule-induced Polydipsia as a Gateway Behavior to Alcohol Dependence

KATHLEEN A. GRANT (Oregon Health & Science University)

Schedule-induced polydipsia (SIP) is a form of adjunctive behavior that is generated when small proportions of food are delivered under intermittent schedules of reinforcement. The term was coined by John Falk and emphasizes both excessiveness (polydipsia) and the adjunctive relationship to the generating schedule (induced). Although most adjunctive behaviors rapidly dissipate when the induction schedule is terminated, SIP using an alcohol solution may establish a lifetime of robust, heavy alcohol self-administration. In other words, SIP can be used to establish alcohol intoxication (indicated by a blood ethanol concentration of >80 mg/dl) as a primary reinforcer. In monkeys subjected to SIP as an initial introduction to ethanol self-intoxication there are individual differences in the probability of future heavy drinking. Using a principal component analysis, the most robust predictor of future heavy drinking is the emergence of rapidly drinking (gulping) a six-drink equivalent (1.5 g/kg) under the SIP conditions. The monkeys that gulp alcohol during SIP subsequently self-administer enough alcohol to produce physical dependence. In contrast, monkey that sip their six-drink equivalent rarely drink an intoxicating dose. It is proposed that the gulping phenotype reflects the reinforcing efficacy of alcohol intoxication and probability of lifetime dependence upon alcohol.

Kathleen A. Grant is a Professor in the Department of Behavioral Neurosciences at Oregon Health & Sciences University and a senior scientist in the Division of Neuroscience at the Oregon National Primate Research Center. She earned her Ph.D. in physiological psychology from the University of Washington in 1984. This was followed by a 3-year postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Chicago training with Charles R. Schuster and Chris-Ellyn Johanson. In 1987 she took an appointment as Staff Fellow at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, becoming a Senior Staff Fellow in 1990. In 1991 she joined the faculty at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, where she remained until her appointments to OHSU in 2005.

Opportunity Cost in Addiction: Implications for Scheduling Non-drug Alternatives to Reduce Drug Reinforcement

MARK GREENWALD (Wayne State University)

Opportunity cost (OC) is a key concept in behavioral economics. OC refers to the total value (including explicit and implicit time and money) of alternative options that are foregone (not chosen). The study of OC involves understanding relations between choice and scarcity of options available to the individual. This is central to addictive behavior because substance abusers (particularly those who are physically dependent) habitually make choices that sacrifice access to non-drug alternatives. This talk will discuss (1) experimental data with heroin and cocaine abusers that illustrate this concept; and (2) implications for therapeutic approaches to schedule alternatives that may increase the probability of addictive behavior change.

Mark Greenwald, Ph.D. (Professor) directs the Substance Abuse Research Division, its Human Pharmacology Laboratory and the outpatient treatment research clinic in the Dept. of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, Michigan. He previously directed the Ph.D. training program in Translational Neuroscience at the WSU School of Medicine. He is a Fellow and currently the President of Division 28 (Psychopharmacology and Substance Abuse) of the American Psychological Association. His clinical research studies focus on (1) pharmacological, environmental and individual difference (behavioral history and genetic) determinants of drug seeking and use, interpreted within a behavioral economic approach; (2) using brain-imaging techniques to understand the clinical neurobiology of substance use disorders; and (3) developing medication and behavioral treatments for substance use disorders. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has continuously funded his research since 1996. He has been the principal investigator and a co-investigator on many federally funded grants, and regularly reviews manuscripts for many substance abuse related journals and federal grant applications. Dr. Greenwald credits much of his professional outlook and success to the excellent postdoctoral training that he received with Drs. Charles Schuster and Chris-Ellyn Johanson.

In Tribute to Charles R. Schuster: An Operant Treatment for Addiction as a Chronic Problem

KENNETH SILVERMAN (Johns Hopkins University)

This presentation will describe a program of research to develop an operant treatment for drug addiction that was heavily influenced by Charles R. Schuster (Bob). Bob, Kenzie Preston, and I began this research at NIDA's Addiction Research Center in Baltimore in the early 1990s. Our studies showed that voucher reinforcement in which patients received monetary vouchers contingent on providing drug-free urine samples could promote cocaine and heroin abstinence in low-income, injection drug users in methadone treatment. Although promising, half of the patients did not respond and many who did relapsed when the voucher intervention was discontinued. Influenced and encouraged by early discussions with Bob, my colleagues and I have been developing an intervention designed to promote abstinence in a large proportion of patients and maintain that abstinence over extended periods of time. The intervention harnesses the reinforcing value of paid employment to finance and maintain abstinence reinforcement. Under this intervention, individuals are hired and paid to work. To reinforce abstinence, participants are required to provide objective evidence of drug abstinence to maintain access to the workplace and maintain maximum pay. This presentation will describe this research program and discuss Bobs invaluable role in the development and future of this intervention.

Kenneth Silverman received his doctorate in Developmental and Child Psychology from the University of Kansas in 1984. His doctoral training focused in the areas of operant conditioning and behavior analysis. He completed a postdoctoral research fellowship in Behavioral Pharmacology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1991, and served as a staff fellow in the Clinical Trials Section in the National Institute on Drug Abuse's Addiction Research Center from 1991-1993. He has maintained a faculty appointment in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine since 1991, and is currently Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Dr. Silverman's research has focused on developing operant treatments to address the interrelated problems of poverty and drug addiction. His primary research has focused on the development and evaluation of abstinence reinforcement interventions for heroin and cocaine addiction in low-income, inner city adults; the integration of abstinence reinforcement contingencies into model employment settings; the use of employment-based reinforcement in the long-term maintenance of drug abstinence and adherence to addiction treatment medications; and the development of computer-based training to establish critical academic and job skills that chronically unemployed adults need to gain and maintain employment and escape poverty.



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