Monologue speech: Effects of d-amphetamine, secobarbital and diazepam

Stephen T. Higgins, Maxine L. Stitzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Drugs of abuse from different pharmacological classes increase social conversation. Alcohol and d-amphetamine also increase rates of talking in subjects producing speech monologues in an isolated context. This latter finding suggests that the increases observed during dyadic social conversation may represent general increases in talking and not specific effects on social interaction. The present study was conducted to assess whether other abused drugs also increase monologue speaking. The acute effects of secobarbital (0, 50, 150, 250 mg), d-amphetamine (0, 25 mg) (Experiment 1), and diazepam (0, 10, 20, 40 mg) (Experiment 2) were investigated in healthy, adult volunteers. Secobarbital and d-amphetamine both increased the total amount of speech emitted, while diazepam generally had no effect or decreased talking. Experiment 3 was conducted to further compare the effects of secobarbital (0, 50, 150, 250 mg) and diazepam (0, 5, 15, 25 mg) using a within-subject, crossover design. Secobarbital increased talking in three of the four subjects studied, while diazepam, again, had no effect or decreased talking. In contrast to the differences noted with talking, secobarbital and diazepam both decreased response rates in nonverbal performance task (i.e., circular-lights procedure); they also produced many similar effects on various subject-rated measures of drug effect. Thus, the differences in the effects of these two compounds on talking are not the result of a general difference in their overall profile of behavioral effects. In summary, the results obtained with secobarbital and d-amphetamine further demonstrate that an explicitly social context is not a necessary condition to observe drug-produced increases in speech quantity. The failure of diazepam to reliably increase talking in the present study illustrates the existence of some pharmacological specificity in the effect of drugs on human speech, and suggests another way in which the behavioral effects of the barbiturates and benzodiazepines may differ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)609-618
Number of pages10
JournalPharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 1989


  • Behavioral effects
  • Behavioral pharmacology
  • Diazepam
  • Drug abuse
  • Human speech
  • Secobarbital
  • Social behavior
  • d-Amphetamine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Monologue speech: Effects of d-amphetamine, secobarbital and diazepam'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this