, Volume 119, Issue 4, pp 414–420 | Cite as

Sensitization to apomorphine in pigeons: unaffected by latent inhibition but still due to classical conditioning

  • B. Wynne
  • J. D. Delius
Original Investigation


When administered apomorphine, pigeons exhibit protracted bouts of pecking behavior. This response is subject to sensitization, as it initially increases with repeated drug injections. The hypothesis is examined that the sensitization is due to a Pavlovian conditioning of the drug-induced pecking to the environment in which it first takes effect. In a first experiment, we attempted to suppress this conditioning by extensively pre-exposing the birds to the test environment and saline injections (latent inhibition procedure). As the experiment yielded undiminished sensitization, it cast doubt on the conditioning hypothesis. However, while inhibitory pretraining also proved ineffective in a second experiment, a shortening of response latencies specific to the environment in which the animals had first experienced the apomorphine effect supported the conditioning hypothesis. It is suggested that the absence of latent inhibition may be due to the interference of a context-dependent conditioning effect. A third experiment that examined the hypothesis that the reinforcing properties of apomorphine might be attributable to its well known anorectic properties. The results provided some support for this notion. At the same time, they also confirmed that apomorphine-induced pecking conditions reliably to environmental cues. These cues are then by themselves capable of provoking conditioned pecking.

Key words

Apomorphine Pigeons Pecking Sensitization Tolerance Classical conditioning Latent inhibition Reinforcement mechanism Hunger reduction 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Wynne
    • 1
  • J. D. Delius
    • 1
  1. 1.Allgemeine PsychologieUniversität KonstanzKonstanzGermany

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