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.


32nd Annual Convention; Atlanta, GA; 2006

Event Details

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Symposium #61
Behavioral Economics and Drugs: Factors that Influence Demand and Choice in Monkeys and People
Saturday, May 27, 2006
3:00 PM–4:20 PM
Area: BPH; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Chad M. Galuska (University of Michigan)

Recent advances in the merger between behavioral economics and behavioral pharmacology are highlighted. Behavioral economics provides a way to quantify demand for a drug in terms of elasticity, or the rate at which consumption of a drug decreases with increases in its price. The first two presentations investigate drug elasticity using rhesus monkey self-administration assays. The effects of speed of drug infusion, reinforcer delay, and probability of reinforcement on drug demand are examined. The third presentation employs a human drug self-administration procedure and investigates consumption and drug choice with methadone-maintained patients. In this study, drugs are identified as independent, substitutable, or complementary commodities, and quantitative models are used to describe these drug interactions.

Impact of Infusion Speed and Delay to Infusion on Demand for Drugs of Abuse in Rhesus Monkeys.
JAMES H. WOODS (University of Michigan), Mikhail Koffarnus (University of Michigan)
Abstract: Normalized demand functions have been shown to account for common quantifiable variables (e.g., reinforcer size, response requirement), as relative change in consumption does not change as these variables are altered. This allows for comparisons to be made among different reinforcer types independent of the specific reinforcer sizes and response requirements used. Research suggests that this relationship may not hold when infusion speed and delay to infusion of drugs of abuse are varied, although this has never been explicitly studied using demand functions. The current series of experiments examines the effects of infusion speed and delay to infusion on demand for drugs of abuse within a behavioral economic paradigm. Initial results indicate that these manipulations may affect drug consumption differently than altering the reinforcer size or response requirement.
The Unreliable Dealer: Effects of Reinforcer Probability on Drug Demand in Rhesus Monkeys.
CHAD M. GALUSKA (University of Michigan), Gail Winger (University of Michigan), James H. Woods (University of Michigan)
Abstract: In typical behavioral economic analyses, drug consumption (mg/kg/session) is expressed as a function of the unit price of the drug (response requirement / dose). The present study extended the unit price concept to include reinforcer probability as a cost variable in rhesus monkeys self-administering remifentanil and cocaine. Lever presses produced drug across a series of fixed-ratio (FR) response requirements (FR 10, 32, 100, 320, 562, 1000). When the ratio was completed, drug was either delivered (i.v.) or omitted, followed by a 10-s timeout. Sessions lasted 150 min. At each FR, the probability of drug delivery varied (.25, .5, .75, and 1.0). In general, a single function described drug consumption when unit price was calculated as Unit Price = FR / (Dose x Probability). Exceptions occurred at combinations of the lowest doses investigated and the lowest reinforcer probability; these combinations occasionally produced more elastic functions. The results suggest scalar equivalence between FR, dose, and reinforcer probability.
Using Behavioral Economics to Understand Reinforcer Interactions: Human Methadone, Hydromorphone and Valium Self-administration.
RALPH SPIGA (Temple University)
Abstract: Studies of nonhuman and human drug self-administration have demonstrated orderly relations between drug dose and the responses procuring the drug. Rarely has choice or interactions between different classes of concurrently available drug reinforcers such as marijuana and ethanol been examined. In this study, a unique human drug self-administration paradigm using methadone-maintained patients and methadone, hydromorphone and valium as reinforcers describes drug interactions using economic concepts. A simplified model of consumer demand will be used to describe the drug interactions. Data will be presented that demonstrate that this model has broad generality across reinforcers in humans. The data illustrate the effects of pharmacotherapies on demand elasticity of drug consumption and analysis of simulated drug market exchanges on demand for drug.



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