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.


First International Conference; Italy, 2001

Event Details

Previous Page


Paper Session #51
Drug Effects on Timing and Self-Control
Thursday, November 29, 2001
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Hall of the Ceiling
Area: BPH
Chair: Marc N. Branch (University of Florida)
Timing and Non-Timing Variables that Determine Drug Effects on Temporally Organized
Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
DAVID WAYNE SCHAAL (West Virginia University)
Abstract: Although it has become popular to attribute drug-induced changes in temporally organized behavior to alterations in an underlying timing process, these interpretations are complicated by the fact that drugs often alter operant behavior in a manner that depends on baseline response rates. If timing is indicated by the distribution of different response rates in time, then rate-dependent effects of drugs may be interpreted, mistakenly, as timing-dependent effects. Even when timing is indicated by changes in the proportion of responses on one of two keys or levers, drugs may alter the behavior without necessarily altering an underlying timing process. In this presentation, data from our laboratory using pigeons and rats responding under various operant procedures that produce temporally organized behavior are presented. Effects of the drugs morphine and d- amphetamine, which produce large and reliable changes in timed performance under these procedures, are examined with the goal of determining to what extent timing-based variables vs. non-timing-based variables are involved in these drugs' effect.
Quantitative Analyses of Drug Effects on "Self-Control" Choices: Implications for Behavioral Mechanisms
Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
RAYMOND C. PITTS (University of North Carolina Wilmington)
Abstract: It has been suggested that a major goal of behavioral pharmacology is to identify "behavioral mechanisms" of drug action. Presumably, this approach involves elucidating the ways that drugs alter the variables of which behavior is a function. Identification of behavioral mechanisms, however, is complicated by the fact that behavior nearly always is multiply determined. For example, patterns of behavior maintained under "self-control" procedures involve at least the combined effects of reinforcement amount and reinforcement delay. Thus, it is difficult to determine whether a given drug effect under these conditions reflects a change in control by reinforcement delay, reinforcement amount, or both. The purpose of this address is to present a quantitative approach for identifying behavioral mechanisms of drug effects on self-control choices. By applying the logarithmic form of the generalized the matching law, and incorporating a hyperbolic delay-discounting model, it is proposed that drug-induced changes in delay discounting might be separated from drug-induced changes in "reinforcement efficacy." It is hoped that quantitative analyses of this sort can help elucidate behavioral mechanisms of drug action and, thus, provide direct empirical support for the notion as a theoretical framework in which to understand behavioral actions of drugs.



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh