Current research uses sensation seeking and novelty seeking as predictive constructs of risk taking behaviors in humans. That research suggests that risk taking behaviors of high novelty seekers are maintained by some rewarding (appetitive) aspect of experiencing novel stimulation. From this perspective, developing a animal model to elucidate the behavioral and neural substrates of novelty reward would have implications for prevention/intervention strategies in such areas as sexually transmitted diseases, teenage pregnancy, and drug use. Results from previously studied model preparations of novelty seeking/reward with non-human animals are susceptible to other, non- reward, interpretations (e.g., stress). The place conditioning procedures that will be used int he present proposal are much less susceptible to these alternative accounts. Rats will receive repeated access to novelty (i.e., unfamiliar objects) in one of two distinct environments. A shift in preference toward the novelty-paired environment relative to within-subject and between subject control values will be taken as evidence for novelty reward. Specific Aim 1 will determine whether the objects must be novel to condition a preference. Related work published on novelty seeking has emphasized the importance of the dopamine neurotransmitter system. Thus, Specific Aim 2 will examine the role of the dopamine D1 and D2 receptor families by assessing the ability of specific dopamine receptor antagonists to block novelty place conditioning. Specific Aim 3 will examine the relationship between the present measure of novelty reward and a behavioral measure typically used to study the relationship between novelty and dopamine (novelty-induced activity). The experiments proposed in the present B/START application will establish the place conditioning preparation in my new laboratory and provide a firm foundation in which to develop a systematic research program identifying the behavioral and brain mechanisms involved the appetitive (rewarding) properties of novelty.
|Effective start/end date||4/1/97 → 3/31/99|
- National Institutes of Health: $31,709.00