• Alvin K. Swonger
  • Richard H. Rech


The purpose of this chapter is to examine the effects of a class of drugs called the hallucinogens on a class of behaviors, aversively motivated behaviors. We will find that the benefits of this examination go in both directions: aversively motivated behaviors as a class of experimental para­digms tell us something of the mechanism of action of hallucinogens, while at the same time the use of hallucinogens as a means of inducing an alteration in brain function contributes to our understanding of the brain mechanisms that underlie the control and regulation of aversively moti­vated behaviors. Our chapter will be organized as follows. In the first section, we will present a scheme of classification for the broad variety of drugs that are included in the hallucinogenic class. These subgroups will be compared and contrasted in terms of their general pharmacological properties. In the second section, we will concentrate on the effects of hallucinogens on animal behavior in various paradigms and especially in paradigms involving aversively motivated behaviors. In the third section, a number of current hypotheses that attempt to define the actions of hallucinogens in terms of functional systems or the neurochemistry of the brain will be presented and critically evaluated. Biochemical and electro physiological data will be considered in this section insofar as they reflect upon one or another of the hypotheses. In the last section, we will consider the possibilities and limitations of extending findings in animal studies to the understanding of the action of hallucinogens in man.


Passive Avoidance Serotonin Receptor Conditioned Suppression Active Avoidance Spontaneous Alternation 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alvin K. Swonger
    • 1
  • Richard H. Rech
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Pharmacology and ToxicologyCollege of Pharmacy, University of Rhode IslandKingstonUSA
  2. 2.Department of PharmacologyMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

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