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.


34th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2008

Event Details

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B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #283
CE Offered: BACB

Neurobiology of Cocaine Self-administration: Some Findings in Monkeys and Rats

Sunday, May 25, 2008
4:30 PM–5:20 PM
Grand Ballroom
Area: BPH; Domain: Basic Research
CE Instructor: Drake Morgan, Ph.D.
Chair: Jesse Dallery (University of Florida)
DRAKE MORGAN (University of Florida)
Dr. Drake Morgan obtained a Ph.D. degree in Experimental and Biological Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1998 under the direction of Mitchell Picker, where he was trained as a behavioral pharmacologist studying the effects of opioids. He spent several years in a post-doctoral position in the laboratory of Michael Nader at Wake Forest University in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology. Most studies here explored the role of social influences on cocaine self-administration in group-housed monkeys. Following this experience, he remained at Wake Forest University to study drug self-administration in rats, with a major focus on the influences of various self-administration histories on subsequent self-administration. Two years ago, he joined the Department of Psychiatry (Division of Addiction Medicine) at the University of Florida where he’s had the pleasure to interact with the behavior analysts in the Department of Psychology. Current lines of research include studying of effects of potential pharmacotherapies for cocaine use and the long-term effects of chronic opioid administration in rats of varying ages.

Advances in neurobiological techniques are occurring at an astonishing rate. In many respects, study of drug self-administration happens in a similar manner to the initial studies nearly 40 years ago. If the sophisticated techniques available to neuroscience are to be used to help understand drug self-administration (and potentially drug use in humans), help explain some of the interesting findings, or find biological correlates of behavioral changes, then the behavioral models used need to be equally as sophisticated, interesting and dynamic. Data from two series of experiments will be presented and discussed with reference to neurobiological correlates of the behavioral differences. In monkeys, social housing and the establishment of dominance hierarchies was used to induce neurobiological changes that were then associated with differences in cocaine self-administration. In rats, various histories of self-administration result in animals that, for example, respond to considerably higher breakpoints maintained by cocaine on a progressive ratio schedule, relative to control animals. Neurobiological investigation of these groups of rats can help find biological correlates related to changes in the reinforcing efficacy of cocaine (which might be related to the development of addiction in humans). The overall focus of the presentation will be to strengthen the idea the behavioral scientists need to continue developing interesting behavioral models if we are going to try to use some of the neurobiological and molecular biological techniques that are being developed in other fields of science.




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