Reinforcement of an alternative behavior as a model of recovery and relapse in the rat

Brett C. Ginsburg, R. J. Lamb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


A preclinical model that includes measures of alternative behavior and drug-seeking could improve our understanding of the processes involved in successful recovery; however current preclinical models of relapse do not measure alternative behavior. We assessed the persistence of food-maintained responding and the resumption of ethanol-maintained responding after ethanol-maintained responding was reduced by changing the response requirement for concurrently available food. Ethanol (10%, w/v) was always available following 5 responses (FR5). A 16. kHz tone indicating food delivery followed 150 responses (FR150) resulted in ethanol-predominate responding and substantial amounts of ethanol were earned (0.47. g/kg per 30-min session) and consumed. An 8. kHz tone indicating food delivery followed 5 responses (FR5) for 1, 2, 4, or 16 consecutive sessions reduced ethanol-maintained responding despite unchanged ethanol availability. Ethanol-maintained responding resumed upon subsequent presentation of the 16. kHz tone. However, more responses occurred on the food lever before 5 responses occurred on the ethanol lever as the number of preceding FR5 food sessions increased. These results suggest that alternative reinforcement may reduce control by discriminative stimuli that occasion ethanol-seeking and is consistent with the risk of relapse declining with longer periods of recovery because of the strengthening of alternative behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)60-66
Number of pages7
JournalBehavioural Processes
StatePublished - Mar 2013


  • Addiction
  • Alcohol
  • Operant
  • Rat
  • Relapse
  • Resurgence
  • Self-administration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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