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The effects of amobarbital sodium on differential instrumental conditioning and subsequent extinction


Twenty-four rats received 54 differential instrumental conditioning trials (single stimulus presentation) in which an approach to one stimulus was reinforced and to a second was nonreinforced, followed by 24 extinction trials in which approaches to either were nonreinforced. Twelve animals received a 20 mg/kg amobarbital sodium injection (i. p.) ten minutes before the six daily trials and 12 received an equal volume isotonic saline injection. The drug did not affect terminal response latency to the reinforced stimulus but resulted in shorter latencies to the nonreinforced stimulus in both initial acquisition and extinction. These data support the hypothesis that amobarbital at this dose level has a specific attenuating effect on those anticipatory processes related to aversive emotion-producing events.

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This research was supported by National Science Foundation grants GB 1505 and GB 4373 to J. R. Ison.

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Ison, J.R., Rosen, A.J. The effects of amobarbital sodium on differential instrumental conditioning and subsequent extinction. Psychopharmacologia 10, 417–425 (1967).

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  • Response Latency
  • Short Latency
  • Isotonic Saline
  • Saline Injection
  • Conditioning Trial