The effects of d-amphetamine, chlordiazepoxide, α-flupenthixol and behavioural manipulations on choice of signalled and unsignalled delayed reinforcement in rats
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- Cardinal, R., Robbins, T. & Everitt, B. Psychopharmacology (2000) 152: 362. doi:10.1007/s002130000536
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Rationale: Inability to tolerate delays to reward is an important component of impulsive behaviour, and has been suggested to reflect dysfunction of dopamine systems. Objectives: The present experiments examined the effects of signalling a delayed, large reward on rats' ability to choose it over a small, immediate reward, and on the response to amphetamine, a dopamine receptor antagonist, and a benzodiazepine. Methods: Three groups of Lister hooded rats were tested on a two-lever discrete-trial delayed reinforcement task in which they chose one pellet delivered immediately or four pellets delivered after a delay. This delay increased from 0 to 60 s during each session. Trials began with illumination of a houselight: in the Houselight group, this remained on during the delay and feeding period. In the No Cue group, the houselight was extinguished at the moment of choice. In the Cue group, a stimulus light was illuminated during the delay. Once trained, the rats were challenged with d-amphetamine (0.3, 1.0, 1.6 mg/kg), chlordiazepoxide (1.0, 3.2, 5.6, 10 mg/kg), α-flupenthixol (0.125, 0.25, 0.5 mg/kg), and various behavioural manipulations. Results: Subjects' choice became and remained sensitive to the delay; the cue speeded learning. Amphetamine decreased choice of the large reinforcer in the No Cue group and increased it in the Cue group. α-Flupenthixol and chlordiazepoxide generally decreased preference for the delayed reinforcer; flupenthixol reduced the cue's effects, but chlordiazepoxide did not interact with the cue condition. Conclusions: Signals present during a delay can enhance the ability of amphetamine to promote choice of delayed rewards.