Dissociation of alcohol-seeking and consumption under a chained schedule of oral alcohol reinforcement in baboons

Barbara J. Kaminski, Amy K. Goodwin, Gary Wand, Elise M. Weerts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Background: Initiation and maintenance of compulsive alcohol drinking involves a sequence of behaviors which occur in the presence of environmental cues. Animal models using chained schedules of alcohol reinforcement may be useful for examining the complex interactions between cues and alcohol-seeking and -consumption. Methods: Four baboons self-administered alcohol under a 3-component chained schedule of reinforcement; distinct cues were presented in the context of different behavioral contingencies associated with gaining access to 4% w/v alcohol (alcohol-seeking) and concluding with alcohol self-administration. First, the response strength of alcohol-related seeking responses was evaluated using a between-sessions progressive ratio (PR) procedure in which the response requirement to initiate the final contingency and gain access to the daily supply of alcohol was increased each session. The highest response requirement completed that resulted in alcohol access was defined as the breaking point (BP). Second, water was substituted for alcohol and PR procedures were repeated. The effects of increasing the "seeking" response requirement on subsequent alcohol or water consumption were also determined. Results: When alcohol was available, operant responses to gain access to and self-administer alcohol were maintained. When water was substituted for alcohol, alcohol-related cues continued to maintain alcohol-seeking responses. However, higher BPs, higher rates of self-administration and higher volumes of intake occurred when alcohol was available compared with water. Increasing the response requirement to gain access to alcohol did not reduce alcohol consumption (total alcohol intake). Conclusions: These results show that alcohol-related cues maintained alcohol-seeking even after a prolonged period of only water availability. Cue-maintained alcohol-seeking behavior can be dissociated from subsequent alcohol consumption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1014-1022
Number of pages9
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2008


  • Alcohol
  • Craving
  • Cue Reactivity
  • Progressive Ratio
  • Self-Administration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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