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Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology - Vol 24, Iss 4

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Experimental & Clinical Psychopharmacology Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology seeks to promote the discipline of psychopharmacology in its fullest diversity. Psychopharmacology necessarily involves behavioral change, psychological processes, or their physiological substrates as one central variable and psychopharmacological agents as a second central variable. Such agents will include drugs, medications, and chemicals encountered in the workplace or environment.
Copyright 2016 American Psychological Association
  • Introduction to the special issue: 50th anniversary of APA Division 28: The past, present, and future of psychopharmacology and substance abuse.
    This is an introduction to the special issue “50th Anniversary of APA Division 28: The Past, Present, and Future of Psychopharmacology and Substance Abuse.” Taken together, the scholarly contributions included in this special issue serve as a testament to the important work conducted by our colleagues over the past five decades. Division 28 and its members have advanced and disseminated knowledge on the behavioral effects of drugs, informed efforts to prevent and treat substance abuse, and influenced education and policy issues more generally. As past and current leaders of the division, we are excited to celebrate 50 years of Division 28 and look forward to many more successful decades for our division and its members. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Behavior within fortuitous environments: The entwined history of Division 28 and the fields of behavioral pharmacology and toxicology.
    Behavioral pharmacology emerged in the early to mid-20th century as an experimental and observational science, helping to consolidate an empirically based psychological science of behavior. Behavioral psychologists came to play significant roles in toxicology, neuropharmacology, and psychopharmacology. This article traces the first 3 decades of American Psychological Association Division 28. Sources include the Division 28 Oral History Project; formal interviews conducted by the author in the early 2000s with behavioral, experimental, and clinical pharmacologists; and the archived newsletters of Division 28. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Human drug discrimination: A primer and methodological review.
    Drug-discrimination procedures empirically evaluate the control that internal drug states exert over behavior. They provide a highly selective method to investigate the neuropharmacological underpinnings of the interoceptive effects of drugs. Historically, drug discrimination has been one of the most widely used assays in the field of behavioral pharmacology. Drug-discrimination procedures have also been adapted for use with humans and are conceptually similar to preclinical drug-discrimination techniques in that a behavior is differentially reinforced contingent on the presence or absence of a specific interoceptive drug stimulus. This review gives some general history and background concerning the major theoretical concepts and principles of drug-discrimination research as well as its relevance to substance-use disorders. This article also provides a procedural overview and discusses key methodological issues that must be considered when designing and conducting a human drug-discrimination study. Although drug discrimination is unequivocally one of the most sophisticated and useful behavioral assays to investigate the underlying neuropharmacology of drugs in vivo, enthusiasm for its use has steadily declined in the last decade and a half. We conclude by commenting on the current state of drug-discrimination research and suggest potential avenues for future drug-discrimination research. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Clinical applications of hallucinogens: A review.
    Hallucinogens fall into several different classes, as broadly defined by pharmacological mechanism of action, and chemical structure. These include psychedelics, entactogens, dissociatives, and other atypical hallucinogens. Although these classes do not share a common primary mechanism of action, they do exhibit important similarities in their ability to occasion temporary but profound alterations of consciousness, involving acute changes in somatic, perceptual, cognitive, and affective processes. Such effects likely contribute to their recreational use. However, a growing body of evidence indicates that these drugs may have therapeutic applications beyond their potential for abuse. This review will present data on several classes of hallucinogens with a particular focus on psychedelics, entactogens, and dissociatives, for which clinical utility has been most extensively documented. Information on each class is presented in turn, tracing relevant historical insights, highlighting similarities and differences between the classes from the molecular to the behavioral level, and presenting the most up-to-date information on clinically oriented research with these substances, with important ramifications for their potential therapeutic value. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Neurocognitive enhancement or impairment? A systematic meta-analysis of prescription stimulant effects on processing speed, decision-making, planning, and cognitive perseveration.
    Increasing numbers of adults, particularly college students, are misusing prescription stimulants primarily for cognitive/academic enhancement, so it is critical to explore whether empirical findings support neurocognitive benefits of prescription stimulants. Previous meta-analytic studies have supported small benefits from prescription stimulants for the cognitive domains of inhibitory control and memory; however, no meta-analytic studies have examined the effects on processing speed or the potential impairment on other domains of cognition, including planning, decision-making, and cognitive perseveration. Therefore, the present study conducted a meta-analysis of the available literature examining the effects of prescription stimulants on specific measures of processing speed, planning, decision-making, and cognitive perseveration among healthy adult populations. The meta-analysis results indicated a positive influence of prescription stimulant medication on processing speed accuracy, with an overall mean effect size of g = 0.282 (95% CI [0.077, 0.488]; n = 345). Neither improvements nor impairments were revealed for planning time, planning accuracy, advantageous decision-making, or cognitive perseveration; however, findings are limited by the small number of studies examining these outcomes. Findings support that prescription stimulant medication may indeed act as a neurocognitive enhancer for accuracy measures of processing speed without impeding other areas of cognition. Considering that adults are already engaging in illegal use of prescription stimulants for academic enhancement, as well as the potential for stimulant misuse to have serious side effects, the establishment of public policies informed by interdisciplinary research surrounding this issue, whether restrictive or liberal, is of critical importance. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • The effects of social contact on cocaine intake under extended-access conditions in male rats.
    Social learning theories of drug use propose that drug use is influenced by the behavior of peers. We previously reported that cocaine self-administration under limited-access conditions can be either facilitated or inhibited by social contact, depending on the behavior of a peer. The purpose of this study was to determine whether social contact influences cocaine self-administration under conditions that are more representative of problematic patterns of drug use. Male rats were assigned to either isolated or pair-housed conditions in which a social partner either had access to cocaine or did not have access to cocaine. Pair-housed rats were tested in custom-built operant conditioning chambers that allowed both rats to be tested simultaneously in the same chamber. In Experiment 1, rats were tested for 14 consecutive days during daily 6-hr test sessions. In Experiment 2, different doses of cocaine were tested in 23-hr test sessions conducted every 3 days. All groups of rats escalated their cocaine intake in Experiment 1; however, pair-housed rats with a partner without access to cocaine had lower levels of intake throughout the 14 days of testing. In Experiment 2, pair-housed rats with a partner without access to cocaine had lower levels of cocaine intake than did rats with a partner with access to cocaine, and this effect was observed at all doses of cocaine tested. These data indicate that the behavior of a social partner (i.e., whether or not that partner is also self-administering cocaine) influences cocaine self-administration under conditions that model problematic patterns of drug use. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Cocaine-dependent adults and recreational cocaine users are more likely than controls to choose immediate unsafe sex over delayed safer sex.
    Cocaine users have a higher incidence of risky sexual behavior and HIV infection than nonusers. Our aim was to measure whether safer sex discount rates—a measure of the likelihood of having immediate unprotected sex versus waiting to have safer sex—differed between controls and cocaine users of varying severity. Of the 162 individuals included in the primary data analyses, 69 met the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed., text rev.; DSM–IV–TR) criteria for cocaine dependence, 29 were recreational cocaine users who did not meet the dependence criteria, and 64 were controls. Participants completed the Sexual Discounting Task, which measures a person’s likelihood of using a condom when one is immediately available and how that likelihood decreases as a function of delay to condom availability with regard to 4 images chosen by the participants of hypothetical sexual partners differing in perceived desirability and likelihood of having a sexually transmitted infection. When a condom was immediately available, the stated likelihood of condom use sometimes differed between cocaine users and controls, which depended on the image condition. Even after controlling for rates of condom use when one is immediately available, the cocaine-dependent and recreational users groups were more sensitive to delay to condom availability than controls. Safer sex discount rates were also related to intelligence scores. The Sexual Discounting Task identifies delay as a key variable that impacts the likelihood of using a condom among these groups and suggests that HIV prevention efforts may be differentially effective based on an individual’s safer sex discount rate. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Acute effects of cannabis on breath-holding duration.
    Distress intolerance (an individual’s perceived or actual inability to tolerate distressing psychological or physiological states) is associated with cannabis use. It is unknown whether a biobehavioral index of distress intolerance, breath-holding duration, is acutely influenced (increased or decreased) by cannabis. Such information may further inform understanding of the expression of psychological or physiological distress postcannabis use. This within-subjects study examined whether smoked marijuana with 2.7%–3.0% delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), relative to placebo, acutely changed duration of breath holding. Participants (n = 88; 65.9% male) were nontreatment-seeking frequent cannabis users who smoked placebo or active THC cigarette on two separate study days and completed a breath-holding task postsmoking. Controlling for baseline breath-holding duration and participant sex, THC produced significantly shorter breath-holding durations relative to placebo. There was a significant interaction of drug administration × frequency of cannabis use, such that THC decreased breath-holding time among less frequent but not among more frequent users. Findings indicate that cannabis may exacerbate distress intolerance (via shorter breath-holding durations). As compared to less frequent cannabis users, frequent users display tolerance to cannabis’ acute effects including increased ability to tolerate respiratory distress when holding breath. Objective measures of distress intolerance are sensitive to contextual factors such as acute drug intoxication, and may inform the link between cannabis use and the expression of psychological distress. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
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