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Effects of morphine and pentobarbital on conditioned electrodermal responses and basal conductance in man

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Summary

The effects of morphine (8 mg and 16 mg/70 kg) and pentobarbital (200 mg/70 kg) upon acquisition of a conditioned electrodermal response were studied. Both morphine (16 mg) and pentobarbital tended to reduce the degree of conditioning. In addition, morphine (16 mg) attenuated the increase in basal conductance relative to that which occurred under placebo during the conditioning period and did so more effectively than pentobarbital. Pentobarbital, but not morphine, decreased basal conductance under the non-shock condition. Morphine thus acted selectively on the effects of shock on basal conductance, and thereby, possibly, on anxiety. Neither morphine nor pentobarbital appeared to impair responsivity of the phasic EDR.

The tentative hypothesis was offered that the tonic and phasic reactions of the electrodermogram are separately mediated and that morphine has a greater effect upon the neural basis for the tonic than for the phasic reaction.

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Jones, B.E., Ayres, J.J.B., Flanary, H.G. et al. Effects of morphine and pentobarbital on conditioned electrodermal responses and basal conductance in man. Psychopharmacologia 7, 159–174 (1965). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00411215

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Keywords

  • Placebo
  • Morphine
  • Pentobarbital
  • Phasic Reaction
  • Neural Basis