, Volume 104, Issue 4, pp 515–521 | Cite as

Haloperidol and nucleus accumbens dopamine depletion suppress lever pressing for food but increase free food consumption in a novel food choice procedure

  • J. D. Salamone
  • R. E. Steinpreis
  • L. D. McCullough
  • P. Smith
  • D. Grebel
  • K. Mahan
Original Investigations


An important aspect of motivated behavior is that organisms will perform complex instrumental behaviors to gain access to stimuli such as food. In the present study, food-deprived rats were tested in an operant chamber in which the animals had a choice between pressing a lever to obtain a more-preferred food (Bioserve pellets), or free feeding on a less-preferred food (lab chow). Typically, rats pressed the lever to obtain the preferred food pellets, and ate little of the less-preferred food even though it was freely available. Pre-fed rats showed suppression of both lever pressing and feeding. Systemic administration of 0.1 mg/kg haloperidol (HP) led to a dramatic shift in the behavior of these rats, such that the number of lever presses was substantially reduced, but the amount of less-preferred food consumed showed a significant increase. This result occurred if the rats pressed a lever on either a CRF or FR5 schedule. Injection of 3.5–7.0 µg HP directly into the nucleus accumbens, or intra-accumbens injections of 6-hydroxy-dopamine, also decreased lever pressing for food and increased feeding on laboratory chow. Thus, interference with brain dopamine suppressed a highly active instrumental response for food, although the behavior of the animal was still directed towards food acquisition and consumption.

Key words

Dopamine Nucleus accumbens Motivation Motor function Operant Foraging 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. D. Salamone
    • 1
  • R. E. Steinpreis
    • 1
  • L. D. McCullough
    • 1
  • P. Smith
    • 1
  • D. Grebel
    • 1
  • K. Mahan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of ConnecticutStorrsUSA

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