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Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology - Vol 25, Iss 6

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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 2018 American Psychological Association
  • Remifentanil maintains lower initial delayed nonmatching-to-sample accuracy compared to food pellets in male rhesus monkeys.
    Emerging human laboratory and preclinical drug self-administration data suggest that a history of contingent abused drug exposure impairs performance in operant discrimination procedures, such as delayed nonmatching-to-sample (DNMTS), that are hypothesized to assess components of executive function. However, these preclinical discrimination studies have exclusively used food as the reinforcer and the effects of drugs as reinforcers in these operant procedures are unknown. The present study determined effects of contingent intravenous remifentanil injections on DNMTS performance hypothesized to assess 1 aspect of executive function, working memory. Daily behavioral sessions consisted of 2 components with sequential intravenous remifentanil (0, 0.01–1.0 μg/kg/injection) or food (0, 1–10 pellets) availability in nonopioid dependent male rhesus monkeys (n = 3). Remifentanil functioned as a reinforcer in the DNMTS procedure. Similar delay-dependent DNMTS accuracy was observed under both remifentanil- and food-maintained components, such that higher accuracies were maintained at shorter (0.1–1.0 s) delays and lower accuracies approaching chance performance were maintained at longer (10–32 s) delays. Remifentanil maintained significantly lower initial DNMTS accuracy compared to food. Reinforcer magnitude was not an important determinant of DNMTS accuracy for either remifentanil or food. These results extend the range of experimental procedures under which drugs function as reinforcers. Furthermore, the selective remifentanil-induced decrease in initial DNMTS accuracy is consistent with a selective impairment of attentional, but not memorial, processes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • A novel concurrent pictorial choice model of mood-induced relapse in hazardous drinkers.
    This study tested whether a novel concurrent pictorial choice procedure, inspired by animal self-administration models, is sensitive to the motivational effect of negative mood induction on alcohol-seeking in hazardous drinkers. Forty-eight hazardous drinkers (scoring ≥7 on the Alcohol Use Disorders Inventory) recruited from the community completed measures of alcohol dependence, depression, and drinking coping motives. Baseline alcohol-seeking was measured by percent choice to enlarge alcohol- versus food-related thumbnail images in two alternative forced-choice trials. Negative and positive mood was then induced in succession by means of self-referential affective statements and music, and percent alcohol choice was measured after each induction in the same way as baseline. Baseline alcohol choice correlated with alcohol dependence severity, r = .42, p = .003, drinking coping motives (in two questionnaires, r = .33, p = .02 and r = .46, p = .001), and depression symptoms, r = .31, p = .03. Alcohol choice was increased by negative mood over baseline (p <.001, ηp2 = .280), and matched baseline following positive mood (p = .54, ηp2 = .008). The negative mood-induced increase in alcohol choice was not related to gender, alcohol dependence, drinking to cope, or depression symptoms (ps ≥ .37). The concurrent pictorial choice measure is a sensitive index of the relative value of alcohol, and provides an accessible experimental model to study negative mood-induced relapse mechanisms in hazardous drinkers. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Exposure to male sexual scents (androstenone) influences women’s drinking.
    In a demonstration of a heretofore unknown motivational pathway for alcohol consumption, we recently showed that exposure to scents emitted by human females during the fertile phase of their menstrual cycle could increase men’s drinking. The current study examined the reverse: whether exposure to male sexual scents (androstenone) would increase women’s drinking. One hundred three female participants were primed with either androstenone or a control prime (plain water) camouflaged as a men’s “cologne.” They then completed a laboratory assessment of beer consumption and related measures. (Nonalcoholic beer was used for methodological and safety reasons.) Results indicated that females exposed to the androstenone prime drank significantly more than those exposed to the control prime. Social and sexual expectancies taken subsequent to drinking (to avoid unwanted manipulation influences) were correlated with drinking in the primed group but not in the neutral group, supporting the idea that information-processing pathways related to alcohol use had been engaged in the primed group. Few females were ovulating, precluding assessment of the effects of fertility on this process. Because of the centrality of sexual signaling to fundamental evolutionary/biological forces, these results indicate a potentially powerful influence on alcohol consumption that calls for continued investigation. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Contingency management targeting abstinence is effective in reducing depressive and anxiety symptoms among crack cocaine-dependent individuals.
    Although contingency management (CM) is effective in promoting abstinence and treatment retention among crack cocaine users who meet the criteria for cocaine dependence, less is known about its off-target effects. In this secondary analysis, we evaluated the impact of CM on depressive and anxiety symptoms in a sample of cocaine-dependent individuals under treatment. Sixty-five crack cocaine users who met the criteria for cocaine dependence were randomly assigned to receive 12 weeks of standard treatment alone (STA; n = 32) or 12 weeks of standard treatment plus CM (STCM; n = 33). The outcome measures of the secondary analysis were depressive and anxiety symptoms assessed with the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II) and the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI). At baseline, 59 (90.8%) of the participants reported at least mild depressive symptoms and 47 (72.5%) reported at least mild anxiety symptoms. The mean BDI-II (24.5 ± 12.1) and BAI (20.7 ± 13.5) scores in the sample as a whole was moderate. After treatment, the reported levels of depressive symptoms (β = −9.6, p <.05) and anxiety symptoms (β = −9.9, p <.05) were lower among the individuals receiving STCM than among those receiving STA. This study provides evidence that an STCM intervention targeting crack cocaine abstinence also produces significant reductions in depressive and anxiety symptoms. This low cost intervention also demonstrated significant promise and optimization potential for crack cocaine users in a setting of scarce resources and high mental health comorbidity. Relevance Statement: We found that the prevalence of depressive and anxiety symptoms were extremely high among crack cocaine users, and that, among such individuals, contingency management (CM) reduced depressive and anxiety symptomatology to a greater degree than did standard treatment. Our results suggest that CM targeting crack cocaine abuse can have off-target effects on psychiatric symptomatology. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Preliminary validity of the modified Cigarette Evaluation Questionnaire in predicting the reinforcing effects of cigarettes that vary in nicotine content.
    Validity studies evaluating self-report measures in relation to behavioral preference of cigarettes varying in nicotine content are needed. The current study examined the relationship between ratings on the modified Cigarette Evaluation Questionnaire (mCEQ) and the relative reinforcing effects of Spectrum research cigarettes (15.8, 5.2, 2.4, 0.4 mg per gram of tobacco). Data for this secondary analysis were obtained from a double-blind study (Higgins et al., 2017) evaluating the subjective and reinforcing effects of Spectrum cigarettes under acute smoking abstinence. Current smokers (N = 26) were recruited from three vulnerable smoking populations (economically disadvantaged women of reproductive age, opioid-maintained individuals, individuals with affective disorders). In Phase 1 (five sessions), the mCEQ (Satisfaction, Psychological Reward, Enjoyment of Respiratory Tract Sensations, Craving Reduction, Aversion subscales) was administered following ad lib smoking of Spectrum cigarettes and subscale differences scores were calculated by subtracting ratings of the 15.8 mg/g cigarette from ratings of the reduced nicotine content cigarettes. In Phase 2 (six sessions), participants completed six 2-dose concurrent choice tests. The relationship between mCEQ subscale difference scores from Phase 1 and nicotine dose choice from Phase 2 was examined using mixed-model repeated-measures analyses of variance. Higher Satisfaction and lower Aversion subscale difference scores were associated with choosing the 15.8 mg/g cigarette more than the 5.2, 2.4, and 0.4 mg/g cigarettes. Scores on the other mCEQ subscales were not associated with nicotine choice. These results provide support for validity of the mCEQ Satisfaction and Aversion subscales predicting the relative reinforcing effects and abuse liability of varying nicotine content cigarettes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • On how patients with multiple sclerosis weigh side effect severity and treatment efficacy when making treatment decisions.
    Although effective disease-modifying treatments (DMTs) are available for individuals suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS), many patients fail to take their recommended medications. Unlike medications that provide immediate relief from existing symptoms, DMTs decrease the probability of future symptoms (i.e., a probabilistic benefit) while concurrently carrying an appreciable risk of immediate side effects (i.e., a probabilistic cost). Prior research has shown that both the probability of reducing disease progression and the probability of experiencing side effects impact patients’ likelihood of taking a hypothetical DMT. The role that side effect severity plays in treatment decisions remains unexplored. The present study examined how probability of medication efficacy and side effect severity impact patients’ likelihood of taking hypothetical DMTs. Patients’ likelihood of taking a DMT systematically decreased as medication efficacy decreased and side effect severity increased. Because side effect severity appears to impact decision-making processes in unique ways, the present results suggest that providers should present information on severe (which are typically rare) and mild to moderate side effects (which are more common) separately. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Customized recommendations and reminder text messages for automated, computer-based treatment during methadone.
    The Recovery Line is an automated, computer-based intervention based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) designed to provide real-time assistance by phone for patients in methadone maintenance. Preliminary efficacy findings were promising, however, as with other computer-based systems for substance use disorder, patient system use was less than recommended. Development and evaluation of system functions to increase patient engagement and use is needed. Thus, we conducted two randomized trials to evaluate system functions designed to increase patient use of the Recovery Line among methadone-maintained patients with continued illicit drug use. In Trial 1 (n = 60), patients received customized, system use recommendations or no recommendations on each Recovery Line call. Ratings of system usability were higher for customized recommendations (CR), but number of calls and total call time did not differ by condition. Trial 2 evaluated characteristics of reminder messages (message frame and reminder latency). Participants (N = 67) received gain- and loss-frame reminder messages, and were randomly assigned to immediate, short, or long term message latency. Although message framing had no effect, gender interacted with latency condition such that females did not differ by message latency, while males had significantly greater total contact time in the short latency conditions. Number of calls differed by condition over time such that the shorter latencies led to greater calls initially, but dissipated over time. Overall the study indicates that computer-based self-management systems can be adapted to increase patient engagement and use. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Measuring heightened attention to alcohol in a naturalistic setting: A validation study.
    Attentional bias to alcohol-related stimuli is believed to be an important contributor to the development and maintenance of drug abuse. There is a considerable body of research examining attentional bias, much of which has typically utilized image-display tasks as a means to assess the phenomenon. Little, however, is known about the nature of this bias in an individual’s natural environment. The current study sought to implement a novel approach to assessing attentional bias in vivo. Participants wore portable eye-tracking glasses that recorded video from their point of view and measured fixation time to objects they observed. They entered a room that was designed to represent a recreational setting in which both alcohol- and nonalcoholic-neutral beverages were placed along with other stimuli. In two different testing sessions, participants were free to visually explore the room. Participants showed similar fixation times to alcohol and neutral beverages during Session 1. Attentional bias to alcoholic beverages was observed in Session 2 because fixation time decreased to neutral but not to alcoholic beverages. The magnitude of attentional bias was positively associated with drinking habits, with heavier drinkers demonstrating a higher degree of bias to alcohol. These findings provide an ecological model of how attentional bias can develop as the net result of attention being sustained to alcoholic stimuli while diminishing to other stimuli over time. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Environmental context effects on craving among consumers of caffeinated alcohol beverages: Associations with aspects of impulsivity.
    The present study primarily sought to (a) determine the effects of environmental context on subjective ratings of craving for alcohol and caffeinated alcohol beverages (CAB) and (b) test inhibitory control, a state behavioral aspect of impulsivity, as a mediator of the association between context and craving in a sample of consumers of CAB. A secondary aim was to examine the associations between trait impulsivity and subjective craving for alcohol and CAB. Participants were 143 (67.1% female) college CAB drinkers. Participants were randomized into either a simulated bar context condition or neutral context condition and completed measures of alcohol use, CAB use, trait impulsivity, inhibitory control on a go/no-go task, and subjective craving for alcohol and CAB. Findings revealed that participants in the simulated bar condition, as compared with those in the neutral condition, reported more subjective craving for alcohol and for CAB; however, alcohol and CAB-specific craving were not different overall or as a function of context. The association between context and subjective craving for alcohol was not mediated by inhibitory control. Trait impulsivity was positively associated with alcohol and CAB-specific craving at baseline and post context exposure, and this finding was similar across both conditions. Therefore, the current investigation suggests that consumers of CAB may be sensitive to alcohol contexts as indicated by greater responses in alcohol and CAB-specific craving. However, inhibitory control did not explain this association. Future research may benefit from examining other potential mechanisms that explain the relationship between context and craving among CAB consumers. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Hierarchical investigation of genetic influences on response inhibition in healthy young adults.
    Poor inhibitory control is a known risk factor for substance use disorders, making it a priority to identify the determinants of these deficits. The aim of the current study was to identify genetic associations with inhibitory control using the stop signal task in a large sample (n = 934) of healthy young adults of European ancestry. We genotyped the subjects genome-wide and then used a hierarchical approach in which we tested seven a priori single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) previously associated with stop signal task performance, approximately 9,000 SNPs designated as high-value addiction (HVA) markers by the SmokeScreen array, and approximately five million genotyped and imputed SNPs, followed by a gene-based association analysis using the resultant p values. A priori SNP analyses revealed nominally significant associations between response inhibition and one locus in HTR2A (rs6313; p = .04, dominance model, uncorrected) in the same direction as prior findings. A nominally significant association was also found in one locus in ANKK1 (rs1800497; p = .03, uncorrected), although in the opposite direction of previous reports. After accounting for multiple comparisons, the HVA, genome-wide, and gene-based analyses yielded no significant findings. This study implicates variation in serotonergic and dopaminergic genes while underscoring the difficulty of detecting the influence of individual SNPs, even when biological information is used to prioritize testing. Although such small effect sizes suggest limited utility of individual SNPs in predicting risk for addiction or other impulse control disorders, they may nonetheless shed light on complex biological processes underlying poor inhibitory control. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • The dimensionality of impulsivity: Perspectives and implications for emerging adult drinking.
    Heightened impulsivity is a risk factor for problematic alcohol use among emerging adults. However, recent literature suggests that impulsivity is comprised of several facets that have shown differential relationships with alcohol use versus alcohol-related problems. Previous reviews have noted the bivariate associations between facets and alcohol use outcomes, but have not honed in on which facets may explain more variance in alcohol-related outcomes once other facets are accounted for. As such, certain facets may be more relevant than others in predicting alcohol-related harms among emerging adults. Consequently, the purpose of this review was to support the validity of discrete impulsivity facets and to identify specific facets that may pose most risk for alcohol-related harms. Based on previous research, the present review focused on five facets from the self-report impulsivity literature (i.e., sensation seeking, negative urgency, positive urgency, premeditation, and perseverance) and two facets from the behavioral impulsivity literature (i.e., impulsive action and impulsive choice). Conceptual and empirical evidence were provided to support the distinction of these self-report and behavioral facets, and literature comparing each of their relative contributions to alcohol use and alcohol-related problems, while controlling for the influence of other facets, is summarized. Overall, it is suggested that among emerging adults, sensation seeking is the strongest predictor of alcohol use whereas positive and negative urgency are the strongest predictors of alcohol-related problems. Implications and directions for future research were proposed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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