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.


47th Annual Convention; Online; 2021

All times listed are Eastern time (GMT-4 at the time of the convention in May).

Event Details

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Symposium #228
Behavioral Pharmacology of Prescription Drugs: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Sunday, May 30, 2021
11:00 AM–12:50 PM
Area: BPN/EAB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Raymond C. Pitts (University of North Carolina Wilmington)
Discussant: Marc N. Branch (University of Florida)
Abstract: All psychoactive drugs have multiple effects. They are prescribed in the hopes of benefits such as pain relief, reduction of problem behavior, or enhancement of learning and memory. However, in addition to potential benefits, these same drugs also may produce a variety of less desirable effects. In this symposium, four different behavior analytic baselines are used to assess beneficial and detrimental effects of a range of widely-prescribed drugs. M. Galizio will show enhancement (methylphenidate, memantine) and impairment (ketamine) on remembering in novel incrementing matching- and non-matching to-samples tasks in rats. A. Galizio will report effects of several antipsychotic drugs on remembering in a titrating matching-to-sample procedure (TTMTS). Soto will present data on the effects of antipsychotic drugs on progressive-ratio responding and body weight in mice. Finally, Pitts focuses on the effects of prescription opiate drugs and sensitivity to reinforcer magnitude in rats and the potential impacts on impulsive and risky choice. Overall, this symposium will illustrate the value of behavior analytic techniques in the assessment of a range of drug effects of relevance to contemporary prescription practices.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): antipsychotic drugs, behavioral mechanisms, opiates, remembering
Drug Effects in an Automated Version of the Rodent Odor Span Task
MARK GALIZIO (University of North Carolina Wilmington), Thomas Wagner (Louisiana State University), Genevieve Guidone (University of North Carolina Wilmington), Calista Holt (University of North Carolina Wilmington), Jonathan David Shaw (University of North Carolina Wilmington), Katherine Ely Bruce (University of North Carolina Wilmington)
Abstract: The rodent odor span task is widely used to study the effects of drugs and other variables on remembering. The task is generally conducted manually in a large arena and there is considerable variability in experimental protocols across laboratories. The present study sought to standardize the procedure using an automated olfactometer apparatus. 20 rats were trained on both incrementing non-matching-to-sample and matching-to-sample variations of the task (10 matching, 10 non-matching) with a varying number of stimuli to remember. When stable levels of accuracy were reached, the effects of NMDA antagonists, (dizocilpine, ketamine and memantine) and an ADHD drug (methylphenidate) were determined. Ketamine selectively impaired accuracy of responding, but some evidence for enhancement was observed for memantine and methylphenidate—particularly as the number of stimuli to remember grew larger. These results suggest that the automated incrementing non-matching- matching-to-sample tasks may be a valuable new technique for behavioral pharmacology.
Effects of Antipsychotics on Remembering in Pigeons
ANNIE GALIZIO (Western New England University), Frans Van Haaren (Autism Early Intervention Clinics), Amy Odum (Utah State University)
Abstract: Twelve pigeons were trained in a titrating delayed matching-to-sample (TDMTS) task to assess remembering. In this task, a DMTS procedure was in place, where the center key (red or blue) was the sample stimulus, and the comparison stimuli, the side keys (red and blue), were presented after a delay. A correct response (S+) occurred when the pigeon selected the comparison stimulus that was the same color as the sample stimulus and resulted in 2 s of access to food. The delay between the presentation of the sample stimulus and the comparison stimuli was titrated based on the pigeon’s performance on the task (two correct responses increased the delay by 1 s and one incorrect response decreased the delay by 1 s). At the starting delay of 0 s, pigeons’ overall accuracy was >80%, indicating high initial discriminability, but as delay increased, accuracy decreased. After establishing a baseline, the effects of olanzapine, risperidone, and aripiprazole were assessed.
Long-Term Behavioral and Metabolic Effects of Early-Life Second-Generation Antipsychotic Exposure in Mice
PAUL L. SOTO (Louisiana State University)
Abstract: Second-generation antipsychotics (SGAs) are increasingly prescribed in children and adolescents. SGA medication use is associated with adverse metabolic changes and weight gain, which may predispose individuals to adverse outcomes in adulthood. Studies in rodents have demonstrated that early-life exposure to SGA medications can alter brain structure and function in adulthood. The current study is evaluating the long-term behavioral and metabolic effects of early-life SGA exposure in C57BL6/J mice. In one experiment, female C57BL6/J mice orally self-administered plain (vehicle) or risperidone-adulterated cookie dough from postnatal day (PND) 37-66. Mice treated with risperidone gained more weight during the treatment period. The difference in weights between the groups diminished with time following the treatment but was never fully eliminated. Following initial training to nose-poke for access to a 15% sucrose solution, mice were exposed to a progressive ratio schedule of sucrose reinforcement. Risperidone-treated mice completed more ratios than vehicle-treated mice. On PND 196, mice were switched from rodent chow to a high-fat diet. Mice in the risperidone group gained weight more rapidly and to a greater extent than mice in the vehicle group. In an ongoing experiment, young female mice were treated with olanzapine and metabolic and behavioral assessments are underway. Initial results indicate a long-term increased reinforcing effectiveness of sucrose and susceptibility to diet-induced weight gain. Together these experiments indicate that early-life SGA medication exposure can produce long-lasting behavioral and metabolic changes.
Oxycodone and Sensitivity to Reinforcement Magnitude: Implications for Opioid Effects on Impulsive and Risky Choice
RAYMOND C. PITTS (University of North Carolina Wilmington), Justin T Van Heukelom (UNCW), Katelyn Hunt (University of North Carolina Wilmington), Thomas Wagner (Louisiana State University), Jeremy Langford (West Virginia University), Ryan Charles Blejewski (University of North Carolina Wilmington), Christine E. Hughes (University of North Carolina Wilmington)
Abstract: Opioid abuse is associated with impulsive and risky behavior. Most interpretations of drug effects on impulsive and risky choice are in terms of effects on delay and probability discounting. The role of reinforcement magnitude in these effects largely has been ignored. This is unfortunate given that reinforcement magnitude plays an important role in both impulsive-choice and risky-choice procedures; impulsive-choice procedures involve tradeoffs between reinforcement magnitude and reinforcement delay and risky-choice procedures involve tradeoffs between reinforcement magnitude and reinforcement probability. The present study examined effects of the prescription opioid oxycodone on sensitivity to reinforcement magnitude. Rats responded under an concurrent-chains procedure in which the reinforcement magnitude associated with the terminal links changed within each session, across blocks of choice cycles. Under baseline conditions, choice was sensitive to the within-session changes in reinforcement magnitude. Acute administration of oxycodone (0.1-1.0 mg/kg) typically decreased sensitivity to reinforcement magnitude. This finding has important implications for understanding drug effects on impulsive and risky choice. All else being equal, a decrease insensitivity to reinforcement magnitude would be expected to increase impulsive choice, but decrease risky choice.



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