Ethanol-paired stimuli can increase reinforced ethanol responding

R. J. Lamb, Charles W. Schindler, Brett C. Ginsburg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


While ethanol-paired stimuli are frequently postulated to increase drinking motivation and thus increase ethanol responding and precipitate relapse, no study has demonstrated increases in ethanol-reinforced responding following presentation of an ethanol-paired stimulus that had not previously been part of a contingent relationship. Previous studies have shown that food-paired stimuli can increase food responding that is at low rates and increase food consumption in food-sated rats. In Experiment 1, we show that an ethanol-paired stimulus can increase ethanol responding that is at low levels late in the experimental session, presumably due to satiation. However, these increases may have resulted from either associative or non-associative mechanisms. In Experiment 2, we compared the effects of an ethanol-paired stimulus to those of the same stimulus in a Truly-Random-Control group. In a Truly-Random-Control, the stimulus and ethanol each are presented on independent random schedules, and thus any differences between the effects of the stimulus in the experimental and control groups is likely attributable to the association between the stimulus and ethanol. The stimulus increased ethanol-reinforced responding in both the experimental and control groups, but these increases were greater in the experimental than the control group. Thus, both stimulus-change and the pairing of the stimulus with ethanol may result in increases in ethanol-reinforced responding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-34
Number of pages8
StatePublished - Jun 2020


  • Alcohol
  • Alcoholism
  • Craving
  • Ethanol self-administration
  • Lewis rat
  • Long-Evans Hooded rat
  • Operant behavior
  • Pavlovian conditioning
  • Relapse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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