• Bevins, Rick A (PI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


Conditioning (learning) processes involving stimulus-nicotine associations are believed to be a major factor contributing to the continued abuse of tobacco products. The present proposal will use an animal model to elucidate the processes involved in the acquisition and expression of a conditioned association between environmental stimuli and nicotine. In this preparation, a distinct environment that has been repeatedly paired with nicotine comes to elicit an enhancement of activity relative to control conditions. This enhanced activity is taken as evidence for an association between the environment and the locomotor stimulant effects of nicotine. Specific Aim 1 will assess competing accounts of the enhanced locomotor activity --- excitatory Pavlovian conditioning vs. inhibitory conditioning or novelty-induced activity. The goal of Specific Aim 2 will be to manipulate procedural variables found in other Pavlovian conditioning preparations to alter learning (e.g., number of conditioning trials, temporal relation between environment and nicotine). In doing so, more optimal conditioning procedures will be identified. Specific Aim 3 will investigate whether nicotine pre-exposure attenuates subsequent nicotine locomotor conditioning as predicted by theories based on research with traditional Pavlovian conditioning paradigms or whether nicotine pre-exposure facilitates the conditioned locomotor effects as characterized by a smaller set of literature in the drug conditioning field. This aim will also determine how the conditioned and unconditioned locomotor effects of nicotine vary as a function of different pre-exposure protocols (e.g., context, number, interdose interval, continuous vs. intermittent delivery). Elucidating the behavioral processes underlying acquisition and expression of Pavlovian drug conditioning will have important implications for prevention and intervention strategies.
Effective start/end date6/1/9910/31/03


  • National Institutes of Health: $105,057.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $27,388.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $139,244.00


  • Medicine(all)


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