Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair(s)

Timothy A. Shahan


Timothy A. Shahan


Amy L. Odum


Scott C. Bates


Extinguished alcohol-maintained responding has been shown to relapse in a
resurgence preparation when food-reinforced responding is subsequently extinguished within the same context. However, drug and nondrug reinforcers are often specific to different contexts. Accordingly, the present experiments sought to determine whether loss of an alternative source of nondrug reinforcement in one context could produce relapse to drug seeking in a separate context. In one experiment, rats made topographically different responses for food or alcohol in alternating components of a multiple schedule. Both reinforcers were delivered during baseline, alcohol was withheld during the second phase of the experiment, and finally both reinforcers were withheld during the final phase. Extinguished alcohol-maintained responding increased upon discontinuation of food deliveries, but may have increased due to similarity between the final experimental phase and an initial training phase. In a second experiment, the training phase that complicated interpretation of the elevated responding observed in Experiment 1 was eliminated altogether. Alcohol seeking again relapsed upon discontinuation of food, suggesting that the training conditions were not the cause of the observed relapse in Experiment 1. Thus, loss of a nondrug reinforcer in one context can produce relapse to drug seeking in another. This procedure may provide a novel model of drug relapse in which loss of context-specific, alternative nondrug reinforcers precipitates relapse to drug seeking in a separate context.




This work made publicly available electronically on April 6, 2011.

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