Date of Award

12-2006

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Alan Poling

Second Advisor

Dr. Lisa Baker

Third Advisor

Dr. Richard Mallot

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Abstract

The effects of gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) on the autoshaped keypeck responding of pigeons were investigated. Separate groups of six birds received 0, 200, or 400 mg/kg prior to 15 consecutive sessions; a fourth group received 600 mg/kg, but exposure ended after 9 sessions because this dose produced general incapacitation. GHB at 200 and 400 mg/kg reduced the percentage of trials with a response and total responses relative to levels obtained in control (0 mg/kg) subjects, suggesting that the drug interfered with learning. When exposure to GHB ended, 15 consecutive autoshaping sessions were conducted. Over the course of these sessions, performance in the 200 and 400 mg/kg groups reached levels similar to those observed in control birds, indicating that the disruptive effects of GHB are reversible .. These findings are consistent with the results of previous research, which demonstrate that GHB disrupts learning and performance in a variety of assays.

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