Drug-Maintained Performance and the Analysis of Stimulant Reinforcing Effects

  • Joseph V. Brady
  • Roland R. Griffiths
Part of the Advances in Behavioral Biology book series (ABBI, volume 21)


Research over the past decade involving drug-maintained performance procedures has demonstrated a good correspondence between compounds self-administered by laboratory animals and those abused by man (Schuster and Thompson, 1969; Deneau, Yanagita, and Seevers, 1969; Woods and Tessel, 1974). More recently, experimental attention has been directed toward the rank ordering of such compounds with respect to their abuse liability relative to the range of drugs self-administered by animal preparations (Yanagita, 1974; Brady, Griffiths, and Winger, 1975). Behavioral procedures for the assessment of comparative dependency potential have been based upon research evaluating the performance-maintenance potential (e.g., reinforcing properties) of a variety of environmental stimuli (e.g., food, water, drugs, etc.). Observed variation in this performance-maintenance potency has been assumed to reflect the “strength” (Hodos, 1961) or “efficacy” (Johanson and Schuster, 1975) of stimuli as response-contingent reinforcers, though the hypothetical status of such intervening processes requires interpretative caution (and healthy skepticism) in comparative assessments of drug abuse liability. Behavioral procedures for measuring the differential reinforcing effects of stimuli may provide, nonetheless, useful information about the relative reinforcing efficacy of various doses of a single drug as well as the rank ordering of different drugs for their abuse potential. The application of these procedures to the analysis of drug self-administration in laboratory animals has generally involved four methodological approaches emphasizing: (1) progressive-ratio measures, (2) rates of drug maintained responding, (3) concurrent schedules of drug reinforcement, and (4) discrete-trial choice procedures.


Breaking Point Progressive Ratio Choice Procedure Cocaine Dose Infusion Duration 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph V. Brady
    • 1
  • Roland R. Griffiths
    • 1
  1. 1.The Johns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA

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