Effects of methylphenidate on impulsive choice in adult humans
- 400 Downloads
Several studies with nonhumans and humans have shown that stimulants decrease impulsive choices on delay-to-reinforcement (self-control) procedures. Little is known, however, about the effects of the stimulant methylphenidate on choice for delayed reinforcers in humans.
The present study was designed to investigate the effects of acute methylphenidate administrations on impulsive responding in adult humans on a delay-to-reinforcement task.
Eleven adult males with a history of criminal behavior but no history of attention–deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) participated. Impulsive responding was measured using an adjusting-delay procedure in which subjects were presented with repeated choices between a small amount of money delivered after a short delay and a larger amount of money delivered after a delay that adjusted as a function of previous choices. Subjects were exposed to four experimental sessions each day of participation and 60 min prior to the first daily session received placebo or 0.15, 0.30, or 0.60 mg/kg methylphenidate. Stable choice patterns were re-established between each methylphenidate dose.
Individuals differed in their sensitivity to methylphenidate, but in over half of the subjects methylphenidate decreased impulsive (i.e., increased the number of self-control choices) and increased the delay to the large reinforcer. The largest increases in self-control choices tended to occur at the 0.30-mg/kg and 0.60-mg/kg doses, and the effects often persisted across multiple daily sessions. In six subjects, under at least one methylphenidate dose, the number of impulsive choices decreased to zero.
Acute methylphenidate administrations tended to decrease the number of impulsive choices in adult humans on an adjusting-delay procedure, although there were substantial individual differences in the sensitivity of choice to methylphenidate. In no case, however, did methylphenidate increase impulsive choices. These results are consistent with several recent laboratory studies with nonhumans and humans showing that stimulants increase preference for large, delayed reinforcers.
KeywordsMethylphenidate Stimulants Impulsivity Self-control Choice Human
This research was supported by NIH grant DA 10552 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The authors wish to thank Sheila White, Jennifer Sharon and Ehren Bradbury for their assistance.
- Ainslie GW (1974) Impulse control in pigeons. J Exp Anal Behav 21:485–489Google Scholar
- Barratt ES (1985) Impulsiveness defined within a systems model of personality. In: Spielberger ED, Butcher JN (eds) Advances in personality assessment, vol 5. Erlbaum, Hillsdale, pp 113–132Google Scholar
- Campbell M, Cueva JE, Adams PB (1999) Pharmacotherapy of impulsive-aggressive behavior. In: Cloninger CR (ed) Personality and psychopathology. American Psychiatric Press, Washington, pp 431–455Google Scholar
- Cherek DR (1992) The point subtraction aggression paradigm (PSAP). University of Texas Press, HoustonGoogle Scholar
- Cherek DR, Moeller FG, Dougherty DM, Rhoades H (1997) Studies of violent and nonviolent male parolees. II. Laboratory and psychometric measurements of impulsivity. Biol Psychiatry 41:523–529Google Scholar
- Cherek DR, Lane SD, Pietras CJ, Sharon J, Steinberg JL (2002) Acute effects of baclofen, a γ-aminobutyric acid-B agonist, on laboratory measures of aggressive and escape responses of adult male parolees with and without a history of conduct disorder. Psychopharmacology 164:160–167CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Dougherty DM, Bjork JM, Marsh DM, Moeller FG (2000) A comparison between adults with conduct disorder and normal controls on a continuous performance test: differences in impulsive response characteristics. Psychol Rec 50:203–219Google Scholar
- Evenden JL, Ryan CN (1996) The pharmacology of impulsive behaviour in rats: the effects of drugs on response choice with varying delays of reinforcement. Psychopharmacology 128:161–170Google Scholar
- Findling RL, Dogin JW (1998) Psychopharmacology of ADHD: children and adolescents. J Clin Psychiatry 59[Suppl 7]:42–49Google Scholar
- First MB, Spitzer RL, Gibbon M, Williams JBW (1996) Structured clinical interview for DSM-IV axis I disorders. Biometrics Research Department. State Psychiatric Institute, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Flora SR, Pavlik WB (1992) Human self-control and the density of reinforcement. J Exp Anal Behav 57:201–208Google Scholar
- Hinshaw SP, Lee SS (2000) Ritalin effects on aggression and antisocial behavior. In: Greenhill LL, Osman BB (eds) Ritalin: theory and practice, 2nd edn. Liebert, New York, pp 237–251Google Scholar
- Kaufman J, Birmaher B, Brent D, Rao U, Flynn C, Moreci P, Williamson D, Ryan N (1997) Schedule for affective disorders and schizophrenia for school-age children-present and lifetime version (K-SADS-PL): initial reliability and validity data. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 36:980–988PubMedGoogle Scholar
- Logue AW (1988) Research on self-control: an integrating framework. Behav Brain Sci 11:665–709Google Scholar
- Logue AW (2000) Self-control and health behavior. In: Bickel WK, Vuchinich RE (eds) Reframing health behavior change with behavioral economics. Erlbaum, New Jersey, pp 167–192Google Scholar
- Logue AW, King GR, Chavarro A, Volpe JS (1990) Matching and maximizing in a self-control paradigm using human subjects. Learn Motivation 21:340–368Google Scholar
- Mazur JE, Logue AW (1978) Choice in a "self-control" paradigm: effects of a fading procedure. J Exp Anal Behav 30:11–17Google Scholar
- Patrick KS, Mueller RA, Gualtieri CT, Breese GR (1987) Pharmacokinetics and actions of methylphenidate. In: Meltzer HY (ed) Psychopharmacology: the third generation of progress. Raven Press, New York, pp 1387–1395Google Scholar
- Rachlin H, Green L (1972) Commitment, choice and self-control. J Exp Anal Behav 17:15–22Google Scholar
- Robbins TW (1975) The potentiation of conditioned reinforcement by psychomotor stimulant drugs. A test of Hill's hypothesis. Psychopharmacologia 45:103–114Google Scholar
- Robbins TW (1978) The acquisition of responding with conditioned reinforcement: effect of pipradrol, methylphenidate, d-amphetamine, and nomifensine. Psychopharmacology 58:79–87Google Scholar
- Shipley Boyle B (1967) The Shipley institute of living scale. Western Psychological Services, Los Angeles, CAGoogle Scholar
- Solanto MV, Abikoff H, Sonuga-Barke E, Schachar R, Logan GD, Wigal T, Hechtman L, Hinshaw S, Turkel E (2001) The ecological validity of delay aversion and response inhibition as measures of impulsivity in AD/HD: a supplement to the NIHM multimodal treatment study of AD/HD. J Abnorm Child Psychol 29:215–228CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Trommer BL, Hoeppner JB, Zecker SG (1991) The Go-No Go test in attention deficit disorder is sensitive to methylphenidate. J Child Neurol 6[Suppl]:S128–S131Google Scholar
- Volkow ND, Wang G, Fowler JS, Logan J, Gerasimov M, Maynard L, Ding Y, Gatley SJ, Gifford A, Franceschi D (2001) Therapeutic doses of oral methylphenidate significantly increase extracellular dopamine in the human brain. J Neurosci 21:1–5Google Scholar
- Wade TR, de Wit H, Richards JB (2000) Effects of dopaminergic drugs on delayed reward as a measure of impulsive behavior in rats. Psychopharmacology 150:90–101Google Scholar
- Winer BJ (1971) Statistical principles in experimental design, 2nd edn. McGraw-Hill, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Zachary RA, Crumptom E, Spiegel DE (1985) Estimating WAIS-R IQ from the Shipley institute of living scale. J Clin Psychol 41:532–540Google Scholar