This project investigates """"""""impulsivity"""""""" as a predisposing factor for drug abuse. Drug abuse researchers have extensively studied """"""""reward-related"""""""" factors that facilitate drug-seeking behaviors, including both unconditioned and conditioned positive affective responses to drugs while ignoring """"""""impulsivity-related"""""""" processes that normally inhibit or limit the use of drugs. We believe that processes related to impulsivity may be as important as reward processes in determining whether an individual will use drugs. One reason for the lack of attention to """"""""impulsivity related"""""""" factors may be the lack of adequate laboratory models. The primary objective of the proposed research is to develop and use laboratory-based, behavioral measures of impulsivity to study the relationship between impulsive processes and drug abuse. Our own research as well as other recent findings indicates that """"""""impulsivity"""""""" does not refer to a single process or trait. Instead, several distinct behavioral processes appear to underlie the broad category of """"""""impulsive behaviors"""""""". One process that can result in impulsive behaviors is the preference for smaller, more immediate rewards over larger delayed rewards, and it is measured using the delay discounting task. A second process corresponds to the inability to inhibit (stop) a prepotent response. This is referred to as behavioral inhibition and is measured using the Stop Task. We have identified a new, third process, which relates to attention. Impairments in attention have not been studied extensively in relation to drug abuse;sustained attention is likely to be important for self-control, particularly during periods of abstinence from drug taking behaviors. The proposed project will use non-human laboratory models of impulsivity to determine the strength of association between cocaine self-administration and impulsivity as measured by delay discounting and sustained attention tasks. A self-administration (SA) procedure which includes acquisition of drug taking, escalation of drug intake, extinction of drug taking, and finally cue-induced reinstatement of drug taking, which models important features of human drug use will be used. We have previously accumulated promising data on these tasks, and the proposed studies will provide important information validating the role of specific types of impulsive behaviors in drug abuse. The proposed studies will provide important new information concerning putative animal models of impulsivity, and the ability of these models to predict cocaine self-administration.

Public Health Relevance

The annual societal and personal consequences associated with substance abuse are extensive. Impulsive behavior is strongly linked with drug use and abuse, both as a determinant and a consequence of drug use. The proposed studies are important because they represent truly translational research on the relationship between impulsive behavior and drug use in humans and non-humans. The proposed studies will provide an empirical basis for studying the behavioral constructs underlying of impulsive behavior. A better understanding of the nature of impulsivity is critical for developing prevention and treatment programs to reduce the risks associated with this devastating clinical disorder.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Biobehavioral Regulation, Learning and Ethology Study Section (BRLE)
Program Officer
Lynch, Minda
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
State University of New York at Buffalo
Organized Research Units
United States
Zip Code
Wang, Ruixiang; Hausknecht, Kathryn A; Haj-Dahmane, Samir et al. (2018) Decreased environmental complexity during development impairs habituation of reinforcer effectiveness of sensory stimuli. Behav Brain Res 337:53-60
Lloyd, David R; Medina, Douglas J; Hawk, Larry W et al. (2014) Habituation of reinforcer effectiveness. Front Integr Neurosci 7:107
Lloyd, David R; Hausknecht, Kathryn A; Richards, Jerry B (2014) Nicotine and methamphetamine disrupt habituation of sensory reinforcer effectiveness in male rats. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol 22:166-75
Gancarz, Amy M; Robble, Mykel A; Kausch, Michael A et al. (2013) Sensory reinforcement as a predictor of cocaine and water self-administration in rats. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 226:335-46
Richards, J B; Lloyd, D R; Kuehlewind, B et al. (2013) Strong genetic influences on measures of behavioral-regulation among inbred rat strains. Genes Brain Behav 12:490-502
Gancarz, Amy M; Robble, Mykel A; Kausch, Michael A et al. (2012) Association between locomotor response to novelty and light reinforcement: sensory reinforcement as a rodent model of sensation seeking. Behav Brain Res 230:380-8
Gancarz, Amy M; Ashrafioun, Lisham; San George, Michele A et al. (2012) Exploratory studies in sensory reinforcement in male rats: effects of methamphetamine. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol 20:16-27
Lloyd, David R; Gancarz, Amy M; Ashrafioun, Lisham et al. (2012) Habituation and the reinforcing effectiveness of visual stimuli. Behav Processes 91:184-91
Lloyd, David R; Kausch, Michael A; Gancarz, Amy M et al. (2012) Effects of novelty and methamphetamine on conditioned and sensory reinforcement. Behav Brain Res 234:312-22
Gancarz, Amy M; Kausch, Michael A; Lloyd, David R et al. (2012) Between-session progressive ratio performance in rats responding for cocaine and water reinforcers. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 222:215-23

Showing the most recent 10 out of 21 publications