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An Exploration of Responses to Drug Conditioned Stimuli during Treatment for Substance Dependence



An Exploration of Responses to Drug Conditioned Stimuli during Treatment for Substance Dependence



Journal of Addiction 2013: 394064



Although it is well established that drug conditioned stimuli produce a variety of conditioned responses, it is not known whether such stimuli can also reinforce an arbitrary operant response and thus serve as conditioned reinforcers. Volunteers (n = 39) recruited from a residential treatment center for substance dependence were tested on a task in which presses on computer keys activated images of drugs/drug paraphernalia on a progressive ratio schedule of reinforcement. They also completed a personalized craving questionnaire and a personalized Implicit Association Test. A significant bias in responding was found for images of preferred drugs/route of drug administration. Craving, however, was low and the images generated negative evaluative reactions. Two additional studies were performed to ascertain the generalizability of the effects to a different population of drug-using individuals (i.e., students who drink) and to incentive stimuli of a different nature (i.e., sexual). The additional studies partially replicated and extended the central findings of the main study. Therefore, although these data should be considered preliminary in light of small group sizes, it is concluded that cue specificity and availability of the unconditioned stimuli (drugs and sex) plays a role in modulating responding maintained by conditioned reinforcers.

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Accession: 051465345

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 24826360

DOI: 10.1155/2013/394064


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