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Complex interactions between nicotine and nonpharmacological stimuli reveal multiple roles for nicotine in reinforcement

Chaudhri, Nadia (2005) Complex interactions between nicotine and nonpharmacological stimuli reveal multiple roles for nicotine in reinforcement. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Although considerable progress has been made we do not yet fully understand the behavioral and neurobiological bases of nicotine reinforcement, and without this knowledge treatment strategies aimed at reducing smoking remain deficient. This dissertation provides an original perspective on nicotine reinforcement, which arises from substantial evidence of complex interactions between nicotine and nonpharmacological stimuli. The present experiments tested the hypothesis that nicotine reinforcement derives from at least two sources: 1) the primary reinforcing properties of nicotine, an action that requires response-dependent drug administration, and 2) the more prominent ability of nicotine to enhance behavior maintained by salient non-nicotine stimuli, an action that does not require a contingent relationship between drug administration and reinforced operant responding. Although novel for nicotine, this hypothesis has origins in an extensive literature on the reinforcing properties of psychostimulant drugs. Empirical support for the application of this hypothesis to nicotine reinforcement will be presented. By investigating the interaction between nicotine and nonpharmacological stimuli within the context of drug self-administration in rats, the present research has generated new insights into the paradox of how nicotine, an apparently weak primary reinforcer, can sustain the robust behavior observed in self-administration and in smoking. Hypotheses generated by these data provide important direction for future investigations into the neurobiology of nicotine reinforcement.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairSved, Alan Fsved@bns.pitt.eduSVED
Committee MemberGrace, Anthony Agrace@bns.pitt.eduGRACEAA
Committee MemberCaggiula, Anthony Rtonypsy@pitt.eduTONYPSY
Committee MemberThiels,
Committee MemberPerkins, Kenneth A
Committee MemberCard, Patrick Jcard@bns.pitt.eduCARD
Committee MemberCorrigall, Willian A
Date: 3 June 2005
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 4 February 2005
Approval Date: 3 June 2005
Submission Date: 22 April 2005
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Neuroscience
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: behavior; cocaine; drugs; stimulants; tobacco
Other ID:, etd-04222005-010521
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:40
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:41


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