Incubation of ethanol reinstatement depends on test conditions and how ethanol consumption is reduced

Brett C. Ginsburg, R. J. Lamb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In reinstatement studies (a common preclinical procedure for studying relapse), incubation occurs (longer abstinence periods result in more responding). This finding is discordant with the clinical literature. Identifying determinants of incubation could aid in interpreting reinstatement and identifying processes involved in relapse. Reinstated responding was examined in rats trained to respond for ethanol and food under a multiple concurrent schedule (Component 1: ethanol FR5, food FR150; Component 2: ethanol FR5, food FR5-alternating across the 30-min session). Ethanol consumption was then reduced for 1 or 16 sessions either by suspending training (rats remained in home cage) or by providing alternative reinforcement (only Component 2 stimuli and contingencies were presented throughout the session). In the next session, stimuli associated with Component 1 were presented and responses recorded but ethanol and food were never delivered. Two test conditions were studied: fixed-ratio completion either produced ethanol- or food-associated stimuli (signaled) or had no programmed consequence (unsignaled). Incubation of ethanol responding was observed only after suspended training during signaled test sessions. Incubation of food responding was also observed after suspended training. These results are most consistent with incubation resulting from a degradation of feedback functions limiting extinction responding, rather than from increased motivation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-74
Number of pages9
JournalBehavioural Processes
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015


  • Alcohol
  • Alcoholism
  • Ethanol
  • Incubation
  • Reinstatement
  • Relapse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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