Quantification of drug choice with the generalized matching law in rhesus monkeys

Mikhail N. Koffarnus, James H. Woods

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The generalized matching law provides precise descriptions of choice, but has not been used to characterize choice between different doses of drugs or different classes of drugs. The current study examined rhesus monkeys' drug self-administration choices between identical drug doses, different doses, different drugs (cocaine, remifentanil, and methohexital), and between drug and drug-paired stimuli. The bias parameter of the generalized matching law was used to quantify preference for one reinforcer over another. Choice between identical drug doses yielded undermatching. Choices between 0.3 μg/kg/injection remifentanil and either 0.1 μg/kg/injection remifentanil or saline plus drugpaired stimuli revealed bias for the 0.3 μg/kg/injection dose. Choice was relatively insensitive to differences in random interval schedule value when one reinforcer was replaced with drug-paired stimulus presentations. Bias for 0.3 μg/kg/injection remifentanil over 10 μg/kg/injection cocaine was seen in one subject, and indifference was generally observed between 0.1 μg/kg/injection remifentanil and 56 μ/kg/injection cocaine and between 30 μg/kg/injection cocaine and 320 μg/kg/injection methohexital. These findings suggest the bias parameter may be useful in quantitatively measuring level of preference, which would be an advantage over concurrent FR procedures that often result in exclusive choice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-224
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of the experimental analysis of behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Cocaine
  • Lever press
  • Matching law
  • Methohexital
  • Remifentanil
  • Rhesus monkeys
  • Self-administration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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