Date of Award:
Master of Science (MS)
Gregory J. Madden
Gregory J. Madden
Timothy A. Shahan
Impulsivity is correlated with various maladaptive behaviors (e.g., gambling and substance-used disorders), therefore many studies have been designed to find methods to reduce impulsive choice. Although these procedures (e.g., delay fading and delay-exposure training) are effective, they involve extended training durations. One method that has not yet been explored in promoting self-control is Pavlovian conditioning. During Pavlovian conditioning, a localized conditioned stimulus (CS) that signals an imminent food delivery can (a) evoke sign-tracking behavior (i.e., attraction to, and physically interacting with the CS) and (b) function as a conditioned reinforcer (i.e., the subject will work to access the CS). This experiment aimed to assess if Pavlovian training could decrease impulsive choice in rats by (a) attracting them to the “self-control” alternative (a larger-later reward) and (b) providing access to the CS following a self-control choice. Forty male Long-Evans rats were randomly assigned to complete Pavlovian or unpaired training with a lever-CS. During a subsequent impulsive-choice test phase, pressing the same lever produced the larger-later reward in which rats had continued access to the lever. Pavlovian-trained rats demonstrated significantly more sign-tracking to the lever-CS and more self-control choices.
Mahmoudi, Saba, "Using Pavlovian Sign-Tracking to Increase Self-Control in Rats" (2023). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations, Fall 2023 to Present. 44.
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