(1/2017) Improving social interaction in chronic psychotic using discriminated avoidance ("nagging"): experimental analysis and generalization.

Three social-interaction behaviors of a withdrawn chronic schizophrenic were increased using a discriminated avoidance ("nagging") procedure. The three behaviors were: (a) voice volume loud enough so that two-thirds of his speech was intellibible at a distance of 3m; (b) duration of speech of at least 15 sec; (c) placement of hands and elbows on the armrests of the chair in which he was sitting. "Nagging" consisted of verbal prompts to improve performance when the behaviors did not meet their criteria. A combined withdrawal and multiple-baseline design was used to evaluate the effectiveness of the procedure, and the contingency was sequentially applied to each of the three behaviors in each of four different interactions to determine the degree of stimulus and response generalization. Results indicated that the contingency was the effective element in increasing the patient's appropriate performance, and that there was a high degree of stimulus generalization and a moderate degree of response generalization. After the patient's discharge from the hospital, the durability of improvement across time and setting was determined in followup sessions conducted at a day treatment center and at a residential care home. Volume and duration generalized well to the new settings, while arm placement extinguished immediately.  (+info)

(2/2017) Extinction of responding maintained by timeout from avoidance.

The resistance to extinction of lever pressing maintained by timeout from avoidance was examined. Rats were trained under a concurrent schedule in which responses on one lever postponed shock on a free-operant avoidance (Sidman) schedule (response-shock interval = 30 s) and responses on another lever produced 2 min of signaled timeout from avoidance on a variable-ratio 15 schedule. Following extended training (106 to 363 2-hr sessions), two experiments were conducted. In Experiment 1 two different methods of extinction were compared. In one session, all shocks were omitted, and there was some weakening of avoidance but little change in timeout responding. In another session, responding on the timeout lever was ineffective, and under these conditions timeout responding showed rapid extinction. The within-session patterns produced by extinction manipulations were different than the effects of drugs such as morphine, which also reduces timeout responding. In Experiment 2 shock was omitted for many consecutive sessions. Response rates on the avoidance lever declined relatively rapidly, with noticeable reductions within 5 to 10 sessions. Extinction of the timeout lever response was much slower than extinction of avoidance in all 4 rats, and 2 rats continued responding at baseline levels for more than 20 extinction sessions. These results show that lever pressing maintained by negative reinforcement can be highly resistant to extinction. The persistence of responding on the timeout lever after avoidance extinction is not readily explained by current theories.  (+info)

(3/2017) Blocking a selective association in pigeons.

Experiment 1 demonstrated for the first time a stimulus-reinforcer interaction in pigeons trained with free-operant multiple schedules of reinforcement. Pigeons that treadle pressed in the presence of a tone-light (TL) compound for food exhibited primarily visual stimulus control on a stimulus-element test, whereas pigeons that avoided shock in TL exhibited auditory control. In Experiment 2, this selective association was blocked in pigeons pretrained with the biologically contingency-disadvantage element of the compound (i.e., tone-food or light-shock) before TL training. When this pretraining preceded compound-stimulus training, control was now auditory in pigeons that treadle pressed for food and was visual in pigeons that avoided shock. Previous attempts at blocking this selective association were unsuccessful in pigeons (LoLordo, Jacobs, & Foree, 1982) but were successful in rats (Schindler & Weiss, 1985). Experiment 2 established that selective associations can be blocked in pigeons when the procedures that were effective with rats were systematically replicated. These results further demonstrate the cross-species generality of an associative attentional mechanism involving a biological constraint on learning in species with different dominant sensory systems.  (+info)

(4/2017) Effects of promazine, chlorpromazine, d-amphetamine, and pentobarbital on treadle pressing by pigeons under a signalled shock-postponement schedule.

The effects of promazine on treadle pressing to postpone the presentation of electric shock were studied in three pigeons. The effects of chlorpromazine, d-amphetamine, and pentobarbital were studied in two of these pigeons. Each treadle press postponed electric shock for 20 sec and presentation of a preshock stimulus for 14 sec. Selected doses of both promazine and chlorpromazine increased the rates of treadle pressing in all birds. The response-rate increases produced by promazine and chlorpromazine were due to increased conditional probabilities of treadle pressing both before and during the preshock stimulus. d-Amphetamine (1 and 3 mg/kg) slightly increased responding in one of the birds, but not to the extent that promazine or chlorpromazine did. In the other bird, the 10 mg/kg dose of d-amphetamine increased shock rate but did not change response rate. Some doses of d-amphetamine increased the conditional probabilities of responding both in the absence of the preshock signal and during the preshock signal in both birds. Pentobarbital only decreased response rates and increased shock rates.  (+info)

(5/2017) Improvement by nefiracetam of beta-amyloid-(1-42)-induced learning and memory impairments in rats.

1. We have previously demonstrated that continuous i.c.v. infusion of amyloid beta-peptide (A beta), the major constituent of senile plaques in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease, results in learning and memory deficits in rats. 2. In the present study, we investigated the effects of nefiracetam [N-(2,6-dimethylphenyl)-2-(2-oxo-1-pyrrolidinyl) acetamide, DM-9384] on A beta-(1-42)-induced learning and memory deficits in rats. 3. In the A beta-(1-42)-infused rats, spontaneous alternation behaviour in a Y-maze task, spatial reference and working memory in a water maze task, and retention of passive avoidance learning were significantly impaired as compared with A beta-(40-1)-infused control rats. 4. Nefiracetam, at a dose range of 1-10 mg kg(-1), improved learning and memory deficits in the A beta-(1-42)-infused rats when it was administered p.o. 1 h before the behavioural tests. 5. Nefiracetam at a dose of 3 mg kg(-1) p.o. increased the activity of choline acetyltransferase in the hippocampus of A beta-(1-42)-infused rats. 6. Nefiracetam increased dopamine turnover in the cerebral cortex and striatum of A beta-(1-42)-infused rats, but failed to affect the noradrenaline, serotonin and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid content. 7. These results suggest that nefiracetam may be useful for the treatment of patients with Alzheimer's disease.  (+info)

(6/2017) Intrahippocampal infusion of interleukin-6 impairs avoidance learning in rats.

AIM: To study the effect of intrahippocampal infusion of interleukin-6 (IL-6) on active avoidance in rats and the possible involvement of nitric oxide (NO). METHODS: Using a shuttle-box model, the effects of bilaterally intrahippocampal infusion of IL-6 3.2, 16, and 80 ng as well as sodium nitroprusside (SNP) 400 ng on active avoidance were studied on d 8 after administration. The levels of nitrite as an index of NO in the hippocampus were detected using a fluorometric assay 24 h after infusion of IL-6 3.2 or 80 ng. RESULTS: IL-6 16 and 80 ng impaired the acquisition performance of active avoidance by prolonging the latency of avoidance in training, but not the retention performance in testing. IL-680 ng and SNP 400 ng also resulted in a marked impairment in acquisition performances by decreasing the rate of avoidance, but not in retention performances. IL-680 ng markedly elevated the nitrite levels from 10.6 +/- 0.7 in control rats to 13.6 +/- 2.0 (nmol/g wet wt) (P < 0.01). IL-6 3.2 ng had no effect on active avoidance nor on nitrite levels. CONCLUSION: Intrahippocampal infusion of IL-6 impaired learning acquisition of active avoidance in rats.  (+info)

(7/2017) Behavioral changes and cholinesterase activity of rats acutely treated with propoxur.

Early assessment of neurological and behavioral effects is extremely valuable for early identification of intoxications because preventive measures can be taken against more severe or chronic toxic consequences. The time course of the effects of an oral dose of the anticholinesterase agent propoxur (8.3 mg/kg) was determined on behaviors displayed in the open-field and during an active avoidance task by rats and on blood and brain cholinesterase activity. Maximum inhibition of blood cholinesterase was observed within 30 min after administration of propoxur. The half-life of enzyme-activity recovery was estimated to be 208.6 min. Peak brain cholinesterase inhibition was also detected between 5 and 30 min of the pesticide administration, but the half-life for enzyme activity recovery was much shorter, in the range of 85 min. Within this same time interval of the enzyme effects, diminished motor and exploratory activities and decreased performance of animals in the active avoidance task were observed. Likewise, behavioral normalization after propoxur followed a time frame similar to that of brain cholinesterase. These data indicate that behavioral changes that occur during intoxication with low oral doses of propoxur may be dissociated from signs characteristic of cholinergic over-stimulation but accompany brain cholinesterase activity inhibition.  (+info)

(8/2017) Modeling geriatric depression in animals: biochemical and behavioral effects of olfactory bulbectomy in young versus aged rats.

Geriatric depression exhibits biological and therapeutic differences relative to early-onset depression. We studied olfactory bulbectomy (OBX), a paradigm that shares major features of human depression, in young versus aged rats to determine mechanisms underlying these differences. Young OBX rats showed locomotor hyperactivity and a loss of passive avoidance and tactile startle. In contrast, aged OBX animals maintained avoidance and startle responses but showed greater locomotor stimulation; the aged group also exhibited decreased grooming and suppressed feeding with novel presentation of chocolate milk, effects which were not seen in young OBX. These behavioral contrasts were accompanied by greater atrophy of the frontal/parietal cortex and midbrain in aged OBX. Serotonin transporter sites were increased in the cortex and hippocampus of young OBX rats, but were decreased in the aged OBX group. Cell signaling cascades also showed age-dependent effects, with increased adenylyl cyclase responses to monoaminergic stimulation in young OBX but no change or a decrease in aged OBX. These data indicate that there are biological distinctions in effects of OBX in young and aged animals, which, if present in geriatric depression, provide a mechanistic basis for differences in biological markers and drug responses. OBX may provide a useful animal model with which to test therapeutic interventions for geriatric depression.  (+info)