Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


36th Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2010

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #266
Addiction: Triumph of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior in Translational Research
Sunday, May 30, 2010
3:30 PM–4:20 PM
103AB (CC)
Area: BPH; Domain: Experimental Analysis
Chair: Jesse Dallery (University of Florida)
R.J. LAMB (University of Texas HSC-H)
Dr. Lamb received his undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago in biology. He did his doctoral work with Don McMillan at the University of Arkansas for Medical Science in pharmacology. Dr. Lamb then moved to Baltimore where he did a postdoctoral fellowship with Roland Griffiths at Johns Hopkins University in the Division of Behavioral Biology. He went on to be a staff fellow working with Jack Henningfield in the clinical pharmacology branch of the NIDA intramural research program and with Steve Goldberg in the preclinical pharmacology branch. From there he went to the Philadelphia area: First as an assistant professor at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and then as an associate professor at Hahnemann University. While at these institutions, Dr. Lamb worked with Martin Iguchi, Kim Kirby, Toby Järbe, and Andrew Morral doing both treatment studies and preclinical studies related to drug addiction. Dr. Lamb is currently a Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio conducting research on using shaping to improve contingency management and conducting preclinical studies examining the effects of potential medications on animal models of alcoholism.
Abstract: Addiction is continued drug taking despite its adverse consequences. The experimental analysis of behavior views this drug taking as drug-reinforced behavior. This viewpoint along with the application of the inherently translational tools of pharmacology has resulted in much greater success of translational research in addiction than many other areas. This is particularly true when addiction is viewed as the choice of drug-reinforced behavior over other behaviors. These viewpoints and tools contribute in a variety of ways to translational research in addiction. For example, identification of the dopamine transporter as the site of action responsible for cocaine’s addictive properties depended upon these conceptual approaches. The search for new medications to treat addiction is highly dependent on these approaches, perhaps even to a greater extent than generally recognized. These viewpoints also provide clear and insightful ways to conceptualize vulnerability to addiction, and ways to study this vulnerability. Finally, such viewpoints led to the development of effective behavioral treatments for addiction and improvements of these treatments. Translational research of behavioral disorders, such as addiction, cannot be divorced from the level of analysis upon which these disorders are manifest. Thus, successful translational research in addiction is a product of the experimental analysis of behavior.



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