An experimental analysis of behavioral factors in drug dependence

  • Travis Thompson
  • Roy Pickens
Part of the FASEB Monographs book series (FASEBM, volume 4)


Many biological scientists have viewed attempts to study the psychological or behavioral aspects of drug action as belonging near the questionable limits of scientific inquiry, if not floating well into the abyss of the objectively unknowable. Such scientific conservatism is not without reason, for as Sidman (62) noted, “A major factor contributing to the slowness of development of a science of Behavioral Pharmacology was the late recognition that behavior is a phenomenon amenable to study by the methods of Natural Science.” The solution lies in the unequivocal demonstration of a viable laboratory approach to the scientific investigation of the behavioral actions of drugs. However, “The use of experimental animals in the analysis of behavioral effects of drugs has been hampered by a paucity of objective, quantitative methods of study” (19). Though an early study by Skinner and Heron (65) pointed the way toward such an objective analysis, it wasn’t until the late 1950’s that this promise began to be realized. The new scientific domain, behavioral pharmacology, grew principally out of an amalgamation of the concepts of an operational analysis of behavior propounded by Skinner (63, 64) and the more firmly established concepts of experimental pharmacology.


Rhesus Monkey Drug Intake Behavioral Factor Lever Press Injection Dose 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Travis Thompson
    • 1
  • Roy Pickens
    • 1
  1. 1.University of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

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