Naloxone as a negative reinforcer in rhesus monkeys: effects of dose, schedule, and narcotic regimen

D. A. Downs, J. H. Woods

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


General motivational properties often are attributed to drugs or other stimuli on the basis of the most dramatic or ubiquitous response eliciting effects. Naloxone, as the authors noted earlier, at appropriate doses can elicit the narcotic abstinence syndrome in dependent animals. Thus, it may be tempting to consider other behavioral effects of naloxone as functions also of 'precipitated abstinence.' One might suppose, for example, that morphine dependent monkeys escape from naloxone because it elicits the narcotic abstinence syndrome. But naloxone can elicit responses other than those associated with the abstinence syndrome. Moreover, naloxone can be a negative reinforcer in the absence of narcotic dependence. It is not apparent, then, which of several elicited effects are important determinants of the control over behavior by naloxone. On the other hand, there are general similarities between behavioral effects of naloxone and those of other stimuli which clearly are attributable to operationally comparable variables. The behavioral outcome of naloxone administration has been shown to depend upon the temporal and conditional relationships of naloxone administration to behavior (schedule contingencies), physical dimensions of the stimulus (dose), and antecedent behavioral or pharmacological conditions (previous training; exposure to narcotic). These findings are consistent with the assumption that the conditions under which stimulus events are presented can be at least as important as the nature of the events themselves as determinants of behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-406
Number of pages10
JournalPharmacological Reviews
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1975
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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