Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair(s)

Gregory Madden


Gregory Madden


Timothy Shahan


Katherine Brown


Because impulsive decision-making is correlated with many maladaptive tendencies, researchers have increasingly studied methods for reducing impulsive choice. Most research in this area has focused on reducing delay-based impulsive choice, as measured by choices between smaller, immediate or larger, delayed rewards. A second type of impulsive choice is selecting a smaller, less-effortful reward over a larger, more-effortful one. Little nonhuman research has examined experimental methods for reducing effort-based impulsive choice. Within the realm of delay-based impulsive choice, extended exposure to reinforcer delays has proven effective in reducing impulsive choices in rats. The current study took a similar tac by evaluating if reductions in effort-based impulsive choice could be achieved by providing rats with extended exposure to high-effort training, i.e., reinforcement contingencies requiring a large number of responses. Male rats were randomly assigned to one of two groups: (1) high-effort training (fixed-ratio 50) or (2) low-effort training (fixed-ratio 1). Following training, both groups completed three tests of effort-based impulsive choice. There was an initial effect of HE training on effort-based impulsive choice, however the training effect quickly diminished across sessions for two out of the three tests. Possible explanations for the lack of lasting effect are discussed.



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