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.

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46th Annual Convention; Online; 2020

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Poster Session #66
Saturday, May 23, 2020
1:00 PM–3:00 PM
Virtual
7. Effects of Adolescent Methylmercury Exposure on Sustained Attention in a Visual Signal Detection Task
Area: BPN; Domain: Basic Research
DALISA KENDRICKS (Auburn University), M. Christopher Newland (Auburn University)
Discussant: Sally L. Huskinson (University of Mississippi Medical Center)
Abstract: The contaminant, methylmercury (MeHg), disrupts reinforcement processes and dopamine-mediated behavior. Early developmental exposure has recently been associated with symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, especially with sustained attention in children and adolescents. Adolescence is a key period for dopamine development prior to adulthood with both inattention and short term remembering mediated, in part, by dopamine neurotransmission. In our experimental model, mice were exposed to 0, 0.3, or 3ppm MeHg in drinking water throughout rodent adolescence and trained in a hybrid visual signal detection/remembering task in adulthood. There were no MeHg-related deficits in sustained attention or short term remembering. Accuracy peaked for all animals at the training signal duration, confirming Sargisson and White’s memory model, and dropped off steadily at the shortest delay as the duration of the visual signal decreased affirming the role of the signal duration in attenuating attention to the visual signal. Previously-reported MeHg-related behavior deficits may not be linked to attention or remembering.
 
8. Adolescent Methylmercury Exposure Produces Differential Sensitivity to Novel Distraction
Area: BPN; Domain: Basic Research
DALISA KENDRICKS (Auburn University), M. Christopher Newland (Auburn University)
Discussant: Sally L. Huskinson (University of Mississippi Medical Center)
Abstract: Methylmercury (MeHg), an environmental contaminant, alters both reinforcement processes and dopamine-mediated behavior. Impaired dopamine function during development is linked to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, sustained attention, and short-term memory. We provoked MeHg-related alterations in our mouse model of sustained attention and remembering. Mice consumed 0, 0.3, or 3ppm MeHg in drinking water throughout adolescence and performed in a visual signal detection task in adulthood. Sustained attention and memory were probed with toy and light distractors. The toy disrupted behavior for all exposure groups similarly while the light distraction only disrupted the 0 and 0.3ppm groups, suggesting impaired behavioral plasticity in the 3 ppm group. Mice were re-tested under the visual distraction after 0.3 mg/kg d-amphetamine, injected i.p. Behavior for the 3ppm group was mildly improved by d-amphetamine. The differential sensitivity in the 3ppm group suggests disrupted dopamine neurotransmission following developmental MeHg exposure, supporting previous observations of behavioral rigidity following adolescent exposure to MeHg.
 
9.

Uncertainty as a Factor Contributing to Drug vs. Non-Drug Choice

Area: BPN; Domain: Basic Research
Kandace Farmer (University of Mississippi Medical Center), James K. Rowlett (University of Mississippi Medical Center), Kevin B. Freeman (University of Mississippi Medical Center), SALLY L. HUSKINSON (University of Mississippi Medical Center)
Discussant: Sally L. Huskinson (University of Mississippi Medical Center)
Abstract:

Relative to non-drug reinforcers, illicit drugs may be more uncertain in terms of their availability, quality, and time and effort to obtain, and this may be an important component of drug taking that occurs at the expense of engaging in nondrug-related activities. We have shown that variable cocaine is chosen over fixed cocaine. However, drug vs. nondrug choice is more translational. Adult male and female rhesus monkeys chose between cocaine (0.01-0.1 mg/kg/injection) and food (4 pellets/delivery). In control conditions, both schedules were predictable, fixed ratios (FR). In variable cocaine or food conditions, the schedule on the cocaine or food lever was a mixed ratio (MR), respectively, while the other lever remained fixed. Thus far, at relatively large requirements, cocaine choice is greater under an MR than under an FR, resulting in a leftward shift in the cocaine dose-response function. With food, results have been somewhat mixed. On average, cocaine choice is reduced when food is available under an MR, and average cocaine dose-response functions are shifted to the right. Our findings suggest that variable cost could contribute to excessive allocation of behavior toward procuring drugs at the expense of more predictable, nondrug alternatives. In addition, variable nondrug availability may more effectively compete with cocaine compared with fixed nondrug availability, perhaps having implications for contingency management.

 
10.

Effects of Gonadectomy on Impulsive Action in Male Rats

Area: BPN; Domain: Basic Research
Henrique Reis (Universidade Estadual Paulista), FABIO LEYSER GONCALVES (Universidade Estadual Paulista)
Discussant: Sally L. Huskinson (University of Mississippi Medical Center)
Abstract:

Impulsive behavior has been understood in two distinct ways: impulsive action and impulsive choice. Beyond their conceptual differentiation, several studies have shown a differential role of endogenous variables on this kind of behavior, corroborating its distinction. Among such variables one which stand out is the influence of sexual hormones. Several studies point to direct association between testosterone levels and impulsive action, but not impulsive choice. The influence of gonadectomy procedure on impulsive action has been analyzed in 8 wistar rats in comparison to 8 non-gonadectomized rats. Impulsive action was evaluated through a differential reinforcement of low rates schedule (DRL- 72s). Initially, subjects were submitted to DRL 18s for 10 sessions of 40 minutes, after that, the interval was increased to 72s, until 40th session or stability achievement. Response rate, reinforcement density and frequency of inter-response times distribution between groups were analysed. Preliminary data, first half of the sample, until the 20th session of DRL 72S suggests that gonadectomized rats responded less (Mean=42,0; SE=8,22 X Mean=95,0; SE=22,92) and had a higher reinforcement density (Mean=0,37; SE= 0,008 X Mean=0,15; SE: 0,002). Together data implicate testosterone hormone on the modulation of impulsive action.

 
11.

Using Environmental Place Conditioning With Planaria to Compare Ethanol With the Novel Psychoactive Compound MEAI

Area: BPN; Domain: Basic Research
BRADY J. PHELPS (South Dakota State University), May Dang (South Dakota State University), Jennifer Palmer (South Dakota State University), Malloree Siver (South Dakota State University), Elizabeth Stromquist (South Dakota State University), Linda Muckey (Southern Illinois University), Shafiqur Rahman (South Dakota State University)
Discussant: Sally L. Huskinson (University of Mississippi Medical Center)
Abstract:

We will present data pertaining to the properties of ethanol and with a purported “binge-mitigating agent” that being the compound known as MEAI, or more properly, 5-methoxy-2-aminoindane, using the invertebrate planaria as an animal model. The reinforcement and or aversive effects will be assessed using the environmental place conditioning procedure. Since planaria typically show behavior described as being light phobic, the ability to reverse this light-avoidance behavior after an illuminated environment is paired with a reinforcer makes environmental place conditioning fairly straightforward using this animal model. While ethanol has been shown, in one study to reverse light phobic behavior in planaria, MEAI has never been assessed for its behavioral effects in any animal model. There are only two peer-reviewed papers on the effects of MEAI, assessing it for toxicological effects, using a rodent model. These publications both refer to the anecdotal effects that MEAI consumption results in human’s reporting euphoric effects similar to ethanol but without the typical desire to continue consumption, hence, MEAI is a purported binge- mitigating agent.

 
12. Discussion of the Behavioral Components of a Comprehensive Popular Psychology Philosophy
Area: BPN; Domain: Service Delivery
MATTHEW GROSS (Shippensburg University), Richard Cook (Applied Behavior Medicine Associates of Hershey)
Discussant: Sally L. Huskinson (University of Mississippi Medical Center)
Abstract: For many people, popular psychologists are their main or only exposure to the principles of psychology. Sadly many popular psychologists are far more popular than they are impactful psychologists. Popular psychology books rarely include references to the to the literature. A departure from this trend is noted in the works of Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson. Peterson's general philosophy emphasizes individual behavior change and accountability and is heavily grounded in principles of behavior and neuroscience. This presentation reviews the behavioral principles that are at the heart of the points of his framework for self-improvement, allowing the discriminate reader the opportunity to better judge for him or her self the degree to which the psychologist's advice would be applicable to the modification of the targeted behaviors of interest to them. When applicable, the presentation notes the connection of the neuroscience, the "behaviors" occurring in the neurons and synapses of the neural pathways of the brain that "guide" the manifested overt and private behaviors, to the emission or inhibition of those behaviors. This translation of neuroscience through behavior emission or inhibition, through to the impact on the situation of the behavior affords the clinician a more robust toolbox with which to manage targeted behaviors. The 12 points of the Peterson "Rules for Life" when deconstructed to behavior and sometimes neurophysiological compnents, indeed demonstrate consistency with principals of behavior commonly, and not so commonly, employed by behavior analysts, and can be a helpful resource in designing a program of behavior modification, as well as a good read for the helping the patient attempting to better understand and effect behavior change. Often, as with any psychological therapy, characteristics of the therapist and setting can be a component of the impact of effective behavior change, and/or obfuscate the actual balderdash that comprises the (often glitzy and finacially lucrative) "show." Critical review of the degree of consistency of a popular psychology philosophy with the principles of behavior and neuroscience gives the clinician, or any reader, a more objective basis by which to evaluate it.
 
13. RY-023 but Not D-Cycloserine Facilitates the Elimination of Alcohol-Maintained Behavior and Prevents Its Resurgence in Rats
Area: BPN; Domain: Basic Research
JEMMA E. COOK (University of Mississippi Medical Center), Daniela Rüedi-Bettschen (University of Mississippi Medical Center), Donna Platt (University of Mississippi Medical Center)
Discussant: Sally L. Huskinson (University of Mississippi Medical Center)
Abstract: Resurgence may be a mechanism of relapse for those diagnosed with alcohol-use disorder (AUD) following successful treatment. D-cycloserine (DCS), a partial NDMA agonist, and RY-023, an α5GABAA receptor subtype inverse agonist, were evaluated as potential adjunctive pharmacotherapies in a rodent resurgence model of alcohol self-administration. In Phase 1, the lever-pressing of 12 rats was maintained by alcohol on a fixed-ratio schedule. In Phase 2, rats received either saline or DCS (15 or 30 mg/kg, i.p.) presession. In Phase 2 sessions, alcohol delivery ceased and sweetened condensed milk was delivered on a differential-reinforcement-of-other-behavior (DRO) schedule. In Phase 3A, presession doses continued but the DRO schedule was eliminated. In Phase 3B, all rats received only presession saline. Rats were then returned to Phase 1. A second experiment was conducted in the same manner evaluating the effects of presession RY-023 (1.0 mg/kg, i.p.). So far, RY-023 but not DCS was effective in facilitating the elimination of alcohol-maintained behavior and blocking its resurgence after alternative reinforcement ceased, but the subsequent removal of RY-023 may set the occasion for resurgence. α5GABAA receptor subtype inverse agonists may be potentially effective adjunctive pharmacotherapies in treating and preventing relapse in people with AUD.
 
14. A Nonhuman Primate Model of Resurgence of Alcohol-Maintained Behavior and the Effects of Naltrexone
Area: BPN; Domain: Basic Research
JEMMA E. COOK (University of Mississippi Medical Center), John Overton (University of Mississippi Medical Center), Donna Platt (University of Mississippi Medical Center)
Discussant: Sally L. Huskinson (University of Mississippi Medical Center)
Abstract: Resurgence may be a mechanism of relapse for those diagnosed with alcohol-use disorder (AUD) following successful treatment. Naltrexone is a µ-opioid antagonist effective in treating AUD, but single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the genes that code for the µ-opioid receptor may influence its effectiveness. A nonhuman primate (NHP) resurgence model was developed to 1.) Demonstrate the feasibility of using NHPs in the study of the resurgence of alcohol-maintained behavior, 2.) Evaluate the effects of naltrexone on the elimination and resurgence of alcohol-maintained behavior in NHPs, and 3.) Evaluate the influence of SNPs in the µ-opioid receptor on these effects of naltrexone. In Phase 1, the lever-pressing of NHPs (rhesus macaques) was maintained by alcohol on a fixed-ratio schedule. In Phase 2, NHPs received either saline or naltrexone (0.03 or 0.10 mg/kg, i.m.) presession. In Phase 2 sessions, alcohol delivery ceased and food pellets were delivered on a differential-reinforcement-of-other-behavior (DRO) schedule. In Phase 3, presession doses continued but the DRO schedule was eliminated. So far, resurgence of alcohol-maintained behavior was repeatedly demonstrated in NHPs and this was reduced by naltrexone. NHPs are useful in evaluating potential pharmacotherapies and genetic factors relevant in the treatment and resurgence of alcohol-maintained behavior.
 
15. Effects of Acute and Chronic Nicotine Administration on Choice of Probabilistic Outcomes
Area: BPN; Domain: Basic Research
KATYA NOLDER (West Virginia University), Karen G. Anderson (West Virginia University)
Discussant: Sally L. Huskinson (University of Mississippi Medical Center)
Abstract: Risky decision-making is characteristic of substance abuse and multiple other behavioral disorders such as schizophrenia, pathological gambling, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Compared to other neurotransmitter systems, there is less research investigating cholinergic effects on risky choice. Due to the regular use of nicotine products such as e-cigarettes, tobacco cigarettes, and smokeless tobacco, research on chronic nicotine administration is warranted and would then allow for assessment of tolerance or sensitization. The current project is focused on effects of acute and chronic nicotine administration on risky decision-making using eight Sprague-Dawley rats as subjects. Risky decision-making is measured through a probability-discounting task which involves discrete-trial choices between a small, certain reinforcer and a larger, uncertain reinforcer. The larger reinforcer is associated with varying probabilities of omission, and odds against larger-reinforcer delivery are manipulated across a session. Acute (subcutaneous) nicotine administration of 0.1, 0.3, and 1.0 mg/kg doses before daily experimental sessions is currently underway. Based on preliminary data, the highest dose of 1.0 mg/kg increases choice for the larger, uncertain reinforcer (see attached figure). Effects of both acute and chronic nicotine administrations will be presented.
 
17. Technological Innovation Enhances Operant Measures for Post-Stroke Pathologies
Area: BPN; Domain: Basic Research
JARED T ARMSHAW (University of North Texas ), April M. Becker (University of North Texas and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center)
Discussant: Sally L. Huskinson (University of Mississippi Medical Center)
Abstract: Approximately 800,000 strokes occur annually in the United States (U.S.), and about 80% of individuals experience hemiparesis of the contralateral upper limb. Therefore, there is a need for stoke models to both effectively and efficiently capture behavioral measures of hemiparesis in animals so that potential treatments can be evaluated. Our laboratory developed one such automated system based on the Cylinder Test, which evaluates laterality of paw usage in rearing rodents. Our approach captures forelimb paw counts, sequences, and durations using the onset and offset for each paw placement. The chamber collects data with touch screen walls and a series of cameras that captures each paw placement. The data is analyzed using an object identification algorithm. We have constructed this new apparatus and are currently evaluating its performance in a rodent stroke model. To evaluate the feasibility and utility of this approach, we will compare these new measures with the traditional Cylinder Test method in terms of both sensitivity and analysis efficiency. Apparatus design and preliminary validation data are presented.
 
18.

Why Do I Need to Take Physics (or Biology or Math)? So You Can Learn Behavioral Tools and Fix Complext Issues Others Can't!

Area: BPN; Domain: Service Delivery
RICHARD COOK (Applied Behavior Medicine Associates of Hershey)
Discussant: Sally L. Huskinson (University of Mississippi Medical Center)
Abstract:

When faced with solving a complex, novel problem, understanding how the process works and being able to emit the skill of deconstructing it into components that can be adjusted allows one to solve such problems that others lacking such insight are not able to do. (Think of the person in the group who happens to know the basics of how some car systems work when yours wont start, or knows the basics of a computer app and answers your question, or how to figure out how many devices can be safely hooked up on one outlet. If you are old enough, think of "Maguiver." ) Many of the fundemental behavioral concepts and terms were derived from the natural sciences of biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics. (Think "reinFORCEment, behavioral MOMENTUM). Think about resistance at synapses in a neural network. Understanding them in the context of their native disciplines affords those attempting to understand and adjust behavior a more complete tool box. The same natural science roots from which applied behavior analysis evolved have also lead to the disciplne of neuroscience, which is exponentially unlocking the "mysteries" of how the principles of behavior are manifest in the workings inside the brain which until recently, we could not observe directly, just as predicted by Skinner himself. Clinicians, and bench researchers, in "non psychology" disciplines such as radiology, biochemistry, neurology, and economics among others understanding snd applying neuroscience are already today solving complex, and basic, behavioral issues in recovery from addiction, developmental delay, stroke rehabilitaion, language aquisition, cognitive imparment and other areas in which the applied behavior analyst has, and still can, and shoud have an active participatory role, to the extent that the behavior analyst can understand and apply some of the old natural science concepts and their new neuroscience applications. Take the basic physics and biology courses. Classes teaching the fundemental natural science principles give those attempting solve issues in behavior additional tools with which to deconstuct the situation into components which can be adjusted to solve them. They can be the fodder for that "Ah hal!" moment, that epiphany! They can let those who understand the principles be the clinician who "fixes it," who sees the basic issue, can perform the needed adjustment, and makes that part of life a little bit better for the patient.

 
 

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