Whether stimulant drugs like amphetamine increase or decrease choice of larger delayed reinforcers over smaller immediately available reinforcers under delay discounting procedures can depend on several factors, including the order in which delay is presented. This study examined whether the order of delay presentation impacts drug effects on discounting in rats (n = 8) trained and tested under an ascending order, a descending order, as well as under a fixed delay condition. Responses on one lever delivered 1 food pellet immediately and responses on the other lever delivered 3 food pellets immediately or after a delay (4-32 s). In Experiment 1, the delay to the larger reinforcer varied within session and the order of delay presentation (ascending or descending) varied across conditions. In Experiment 2, the same delay value was presented in all blocks of the session (i.e., delay was fixed), and delay varied across conditions. Under the ascending order of delay, amphetamine (0.32-1.78 mg/kg) increased choice of the larger reinforcer in some rats and decreased choice in others. In the same rats responding under the descending and fixed delay conditions, amphetamine markedly decreased choice of the larger reinforcer even in the component associated with no delay. In some subjects, the effects of amphetamine differed depending on the manner in which delay was presented, indicating that drug-induced changes in performance were due, in part, to mechanisms other than altered sensitivity to reinforcer delay. These results also suggest that a history of responding under both orders of delay presentation can modulate drug effects. This article is part of the Special Issue entitled 'CNS Stimulants'.
- Delay discounting
- Lever press
- Order of delay presentation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience