Cocaine Self-Administration in Rats: Threshold Procedures

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Cocaine self-administration provides a methodology allowing researchers to study changes in distinct aspects of drug-taking behavior that model behaviors observed in drug addicts. Traditionally, self-administration schedules were designed to independently study changes in drug-taking behaviors (e.g., rate of responding, reinforcing efficacy, etc.). The threshold self-administration procedure was developed to measure two distinct dependent measures within the same experimental session that are important in the study of drug addiction: the maximal price an animal expends to self-administer cocaine and an animal’s preferred level of cocaine consumption when available at a low behavioral cost.