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 #390
CE Offered: BACB

The Choice to Take a Drug of Abuse: Contributions of Research with Non-Humans

Monday, May 26, 2008
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
International North
Area: BPH; Domain: Basic Research
CE Instructor: William L. Woolverton, Ph.D.
Chair: John M. Roll (Washington State University)
WILLIAM L. WOOLVERTON (University of Mississippi Medical Center)
Dr. William L. 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 160 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 addiction research.

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 of drug and non-drug reinforcers, as well as relative cost, frequency and probability of reinforcement can all influence the choice to take a drug. Recent research has suggested that the choice to self-administer a drug may be strongly influenced by the rate at which the value of delayed reinforcers is discounted. Research with non-humans has much to contribute to our understanding of this conceptualization. In addition to helping us understand environmental determinants of drug abuse, basic research with non-humans can help suggest behavioral treatment strategies that may be useful alone or in conjunction with pharmacological treatment.




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