Behavioral Pharmacology and Timing
Drug effects on temporally patterned behavior are often described under the rubric of rate dependency: the effect of a drug on behavior is related to the rate of behavior in the absence of the drug. Specifically, drugs increase low rate behavior and decrease high rate behavior. These same types of effects are interpreted in the timing literature, however, as selective changes in temporal discrimination. The present series of experiments arrange situations that allow divergent predictions based on the two interpretations. In one component of a multiple schedule, when the response key is lit blue, food is available after the houselight is presented for a short duration (5 s). In the other component of the multiple schedule, when the response key is lit green, food is available after the houselight is presented for a long duration (30 s). No food is available after intermediate durations. Specific focus is given to a neuropharmacological information-processing model of timing. Predictions were compared for drugs that are thought to affect the clock and memory stages in the model. The results do not generally lend support for the neuropharmacological interpretation of the scalar expectancy theory, but emphasize the need for an explanatory mechanism that is consistent with the empirical generalization of rate dependency.
Odum, A. L. (2002). Behavioral pharmacology and timing. Behavioural Processes, 57, 107-120.