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Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology - Vol 23, Iss 3

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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 2015 American Psychological Association
  • Exposure to female fertility pheromones influences men’s drinking.
    Research has shown that humans consciously use alcohol to encourage sexual activity. In the current study, we investigated whether decision making about alcohol use and sex can be cued outside of awareness by recently revealed sexual signaling mechanisms. Specifically, we examined if males exposed without their knowledge to pheromones emitted by fertile females would increase their alcohol consumption, presumably via neurobehavioral information pathways that link alcohol to sex and mating. We found that men who smelled a T-shirt worn by a fertile female drank significantly more (nonalcoholic) beer, and exhibited significantly greater approach behavior toward female cues, than those who smelled a T-shirt worn by a nonfertile female. These findings reveal previously unknown influences on human alcohol consumption, augment the research base for pheromone cuing of sexual behavior in humans, and raise the possibility that other, as yet unknown, pathways of behavioral influence may be operating hidden from view. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Application of an alcohol clamp paradigm to examine inhibitory control, subjective responses, and acute tolerance in late adolescence.
    Individual differences in acute alcohol effects on cognitive control and subjective responses—and acute tolerance to these effects—are implicated in the risk for heavy drinking and alcohol-related harms. Few studies have examined these effects in drinkers under age 21. Additionally, studies of acute tolerance typically involve bolus oral alcohol administration, such that estimates of tolerance are confounded with blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limb. The current study examined cognitive control and subjective responses in young heavy drinkers (n = 88; M = 19.8 years old, SD = 0.8) during a single-session alcohol clamp protocol. Participants completed an intravenous alcohol session comprising an ascending limb (0 to 80 mg% in 20 min) and a BAC plateau (80 mg% for 80 min). Serial assessments included a cued go/no-go task and measures of stimulation, sedation, and craving. Relevant individual difference factors (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder [ADHD] symptoms and sensation seeking) were examined as moderators. Multilevel modeling demonstrated that response inhibition worsened following initial rise in BAC and showed increasing impairment during the BAC plateau. ADHD symptoms and sensation seeking moderated this effect. Significant within-person associations between stimulation and craving were evident on the ascending limb only. Participants with higher ADHD symptoms reported steeper increases in stimulation during the ascending limb. These findings provide initial information about subjective and behavioral responses during pseudoconstant BAC, and potential moderators of these outcomes, in late adolescence. Additional studies with placebo-controlled designs are necessary to confirm these findings. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Brief and extended alcohol-cue-exposure effects on craving and attentional bias.
    Past research has shown that underage college-student drinkers (UCSDs) report increased subjective craving and exhibit stronger attentional biases to alcohol following alcohol-cue exposure. To date, less research has examined whether momentary decreases in alcohol craving are associated with reductions in attentional bias. One experimental manipulation that has been used to produce within-session decreases in alcohol craving is to extend the duration of laboratory-based alcohol-cue exposure protocols. The aim of this study was to examine the effects of both brief and extended alcohol-cue exposure on subjective craving and attentional bias among UCSDs. Eighty participants were randomized either to a group that received a short, in vivo, alcohol-cue-exposure period (short-exposure group [SE], 2 3-min blocks) or to a group that received a long-exposure period (long-exposure group [LE], 6 3-min blocks). Both groups completed a visual probe task before and after cue exposure to assess changes in attentional bias. Analyses revealed no group differences in mean craving or mean attentional bias before or after cue exposure. Further, exploratory analyses revealed no sex differences in our measures of craving or attentional bias. For Group LE, but not Group SE, within-session changes in craving positively predicted within-session changes in attentional bias. However, further analyses revealed that this relationship was significant only for women in the LE group. Implications for treatments that aim to reduce craving and/or attentional bias are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Area under the curve as a novel metric of behavioral economic demand for alcohol.
    Behavioral economic purchase tasks can be readily used to assess demand for a number of addictive substances, including alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs. However, several methodological limitations associated with the techniques used to quantify demand may reduce the utility of demand measures. In the present study, we sought to introduce area under the curve (AUC), commonly used to quantify degree of delay discounting, as a novel index of demand. A sample of 207 heavy-drinking college students completed a standard alcohol purchase task and provided information about typical weekly drinking patterns and alcohol-related problems. Level of alcohol demand was quantified using AUC—which reflects the entire amount of consumption across all drink prices—as well as the standard demand indices (e.g., intensity, breakpoint, Omax, Pmax, and elasticity). Results indicated that AUC was significantly correlated with each of the other demand indices (rs = .42–.92), with particularly strong associations with Omax (r = .92). In regression models, AUC and intensity were significant predictors of weekly drinking quantity, and AUC uniquely predicted alcohol-related problems, even after controlling for drinking level. In a parallel set of analyses, Omax also predicted drinking quantity and alcohol problems, although Omax was not a unique predictor of the latter. These results offer initial support for using AUC as an index of alcohol demand. Additional research is necessary to further validate this approach and to examine its utility in quantifying demand for other addictive substances such as tobacco and illicit drugs. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Internet-based group contingency management to promote smoking abstinence.
    Internet-based group contingencies have been shown to promote brief periods of abstinence from cigarette smoking. Under a group contingency, small teams of smokers must collectively meet abstinence goals to receive monetary consequences. The present study investigated 2 arrangements, 1 in which all team members had to meet group treatment goals to receive monetary consequences (full group), and 1 in which team members had to meet some group goals and some individual goals to receive these consequences (mixed group). Mo̅tiv8 Systems, an Internet-based remote monitoring platform, was used to collect video-recorded breath carbon monoxide (CO) samples. All team members could communicate with each other via an online discussion forum. During baseline conditions, only 3.3% of CO samples were negative for smoking, which suggests that self-monitoring and access to the online discussion forum were insufficient to initiate abstinence. When the group contingencies were instituted 41.3% of CO samples were negative. There were no statistically significant differences between the 2 arrangements in the percentage of negative CO samples or point prevalence at the end of treatment or at the 3-month follow-up. Participants posted an average of 25 comments on the discussion forum, most of which were rated as positive by independent observers. The mean cost of vouchers per participant was lower in the full group ($33) relative to the mixed group ($190). The present results replicate and extend previous findings on group contingencies to promote abstinence and social support. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Delay discounting of food by rhesus monkeys: Cocaine and food choice in isomorphic and allomorphic situations.
    Research on delay discounting has focused largely on nondrug reinforcers in an isomorphic context in which choice is between alternatives that involve the same type of reinforcer. Less often, delay discounting has been studied with drug reinforcers in a more ecologically valid allomorphic context where choice is between alternatives involving different types of reinforcers. The present experiment is the first to examine discounting of drug and nondrug reinforcers in both isomorphic and allomorphic situations using a theoretical model (i.e., the hyperbolic discounting function) that allows for comparisons of discounting rates between reinforcer types and amounts. The goal of the current experiment was to examine discounting of a delayed, nondrug reinforcer (food) by male rhesus monkeys when the immediate alternative was either food (isomorphic situation) or cocaine (allomorphic situation). In addition, we sought to determine whether there was a magnitude effect with delayed food in the allomorphic situation. Choice of immediate food and immediate cocaine increased with amount and dose, respectively. Choice functions for immediate food and cocaine generally shifted leftward as delay increased. Compared to isomorphic situations in which food was the immediate alternative, delayed food was discounted more steeply in allomorphic situations where cocaine was the immediate alternative. Notably, discounting was not affected by the magnitude of the delayed reinforcer. These data indicate that how steeply a delayed nondrug reinforcer is discounted may depend more on the qualitative characteristics of the immediate reinforcer and less on the magnitude of the delayed one. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)
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