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operant conditioning [keywords]
- Lighting the darkness of addiction: can phototherapy enhance contingency-management-based treatment of substance-related and addictive disorders? [Journal Article]
- J Addict Nurs 2014 Oct; 25(4):197-203.
Maladaptive patterns of substance use are serious social problems. Both pharmacological and nonpharmacological treatments are available, but nondrug options may be preferable because they avoid the expense and adverse side effects of psychotropic medication. Contingency management (CM) and nondrug social and recreational activities (NDSRAs) are based on operant conditioning principles and seek to decrease substance use by means of nondrug rewards. However, their efficacy may be hindered where brain reward circuitry is dysfunctional. Research shows that substance abuse biases neural reward systems in favor of drug-induced highs, while disrupting circadian-based rhythms. Circadian systems also have been found to influence human reward pathways. Possibly, a bidirectional relationship exists between circadian disturbance and substance abuse effects. If so, repair of abnormal circadian rhythms might help normalize reward response in substance abusers, with positive effects on CM or NDSRA treatment outcomes. Phototherapy has been effective in repairing circadian rhythms in persons with seasonal affective disorder and other chronobiological conditions. This article proposes that it similarly may repair circadian response in substance abusers, thereby normalizing brain reward systems. By doing so, it would enhance the efficacy of CM and NDSRA therapies and may also help prevent relapse. Given its low cost and ease of administration, phototherapy seems a promising avenue to pursue.
- Discrimination of partial from whole ultrasonic vocalizations using a go/no-go task in mice. [Journal Article]
- J Acoust Soc Am 2014 Dec; 136(6):3401.
Mice are a commonly used model in hearing research, yet little is known about how they perceive conspecific ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs). Humans and birds can distinguish partial versions of a communication signal, and discrimination is superior when the beginning of the signal is present compared to the end of the signal. Since these effects occur in both humans and birds, it was hypothesized that mice would display similar facilitative effects with the initial portions of their USVs. Laboratory mice were tested on a discrimination task using operant conditioning procedures. The mice were required to discriminate incomplete versions of a USV target from a repeating background containing the whole USV. The results showed that the mice had difficulty discriminating incomplete USVs from whole USVs, especially when the beginning of the USVs were presented. This finding suggests that the mice perceive the initial portions of a USV as more similar to the whole USV than the latter parts of the USV, similar to results from humans and birds.
- The evolution of behaviour therapy and cognitive behaviour therapy. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Behav Res Ther 2014 Oct 29.:1-8.
The historical background of the development of behaviour therapy is described. It was based on the prevailing behaviourist psychology and constituted a fundamentally different approach to the causes and treatment of psychological disorders. It had a cold reception and the idea of treating the behaviour of neurotic and other patients was regarded as absurd. The opposition of the medical profession and psychoanalysts is explained. Parallel but different forms of behaviour therapy developed in the US and UK. The infusion of cognitive concepts and procedures generated a merger of behaviour therapy and cognitive therapy, cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT). The strengths and limitations of the early and current approaches are evaluated.
- Psychosocial Interventions in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Update. [REVIEW]
- Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am 2015 Jan; 24(1):79-97.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most common reason for referral to child and adolescent psychiatry clinics. Although stimulant medications represent an evidence-based approach to managing ADHD, psychosocial interventions for child/adolescent ADHD target functional impairments as the intervention goal, and rely heavily on behavioral therapy techniques and operant conditioning principles. Evidence-based psychosocial interventions for managing pediatric ADHD include behavioral parent training, school-based interventions relying on behavioral modification, teaching skills, and operant conditioning principles, and intensive summer treatment programs. The use of conjoint psychosocial treatments with ADHD medications may enable lower doses of each form of treatment.
- Focal cerebral ischemia impairs motivation in a progressive FR schedule of reinforcement in mice. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Behav Brain Res 2014 Nov 4.:82-86.
Characterization of functional outcome in animal stroke models is essential to improve preclinical drug screenings. Operant procedures showed promising results for the identification of long-lasting functional deficits. In particular, a suppression of lever-pressing in high ratio schedules has been consistently found in rodent models of ischemic stroke. In the present work, we attempted to replicate these isolated observations, by submitting C57Bl/6J mice to a progressive fixed-ratio schedule of reinforcement three weeks after MCAO or sham surgery. Results showed a significant lever-pressing impairment in the MCAO group. Motivational factors (longer post-reinforcement pause, lesser appeal for food rewards) seemed accountable for the deficit, while motor abilities appeared preserved. These findings resemble fatigue-like states experienced by stroke survivors and may be used as long-term measures of behavioral outcome following experimental stroke.
- The opioid system contributes to the acquisition of reinforcement for dietary fat but is not required for its maintenance. [Journal Article]
- Physiol Behav 2015 Jan.:227-35.
The opioid system plays an important role in ingestive behavior, especially with regard to palatable high-fat or sweetened foods. In the present study, we investigated the role of the opioid system in the regulation of ingestive behavior in mice with regard to dietary fat intake, reinforcement, and particularly the processes involved in development of these behavior types. Subcutaneous administration of the non-selective opioid receptor antagonist naltrexone (0.5 or 2.0mg/kg body weight [BW]) reduced the spontaneous intake of fat emulsion (Intralipid). We investigated the effect of naltrexone on reinforcement by using an operant behavioral paradigm under a progressive ratio schedule in which the number of lever presses required to obtain a test sample increased progressively. Mice showed stronger reinforcement by Intralipid as a function of concentration. However, naltrexone (0.5 or 2.0mg/kg BW) did not affect reinforcement at any concentration of Intralipid in mice that had repeatedly ingested Intralipid before testing was carried out. Intralipid ingestion also induced conditioned place preference (CPP), which is another evaluation index of reinforcement. High-dose naltrexone (2.0mg/kg BW) administration during CPP conditioning suppressed the reinforcement induced by Intralipid ingestion, although the drug administration (0.5 or 2.0mg/kg BW) during CPP testing did not affect reinforced behavior. These results suggest that the amount of fat ingestion and reinforcement for fat ingestion are separately regulated by the opioid system. Furthermore, our results indicate that the opioid system plays an important role in acquiring reinforcement for fat but is not required for maintenance of learned reinforcement.
- Dopamine bioavailability in the mPFC modulates operant learning performance in rats: An experimental study with a computational interpretation. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Behav Brain Res 2014 Nov 27.:92-100.
Dopamine encodes reward and its prediction in reinforcement learning. Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) activity in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) has been shown to influence cognitive abilities by modifying dopamine clearance. Nevertheless, it is unknown how COMT in the mPFC influences operant learning. Systemic entacapone (50mg/kg), as well as local entacapone (3pg) and recombinant COMT (17μg) in the mPFC were administered to male Long Evans rats prior to training in an operant conditioning task. We found that systemic and local administration of the COMT inhibitor entacapone significantly improves learning performance. Conversely, recombinant COMT administration totally impaired learning. These data have been interpreted through a computational model where the phasic firing of dopaminergic neurons was computed by means of a temporal difference algorithm and dopamine bioavailability in the mPFC was simulated with a gating window. The duration of this window was selected to simulate the effects of inhibited or enhanced COMT activity (by entacapone or recombinant COMT respectively). The model accounts for an improved performance reproducing the entacapone effects, and a detrimental impact on learning when the clearance is increased reproducing the recombinant COMT effects. The experimental and computational results show that learning performance can be deeply influenced by COMT manipulations in the mPFC.
- Neglect-like characteristics of developmental disregard in children with cerebral palsy revealed by event related potentials. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- BMC Neurol 2014 Nov 30; 14(1):221.
BackgroundChildren with unilateral Cerebral Palsy (CP) often show diminished awareness of the remaining capacity of their affected upper limb. This phenomenon is known as Developmental Disregard (DD). DD has been explained by operant conditioning. Alternatively, DD can be described as a developmental delay resulting from a lack of use of the affected hand during crucial developmental periods. We hypothesize that this delay is associated with a general delay in executive functions (EF) related to motor behavior, also known as motor EFs.MethodsTwenty-four children with unilateral CP participated in this cross-sectional study, twelve of them diagnosed with DD. To test motor EFs, a modified go/nogo task was presented in which cues followed by go- or nogo-stimuli appeared at either the left or right side of a screen. Children had to press a button with the hand corresponding to the side of stimulus presentation. Apart from response accuracy, Event-Related Potentials (ERPs) extracted from the ongoing EEG were used to register covert cognitive processes. ERP N1, P2, N2, and P3 components elicited by cue-, go-, and nogo-stimuli were further analyzed to differentiate between different covert cognitive processes.ResultsChildren with DD made more errors. With respect to the ERPs, the P3 component to go-stimuli was enhanced in children with DD. This enhancement was related to age, such that younger children with DD showed stronger enhancements. In addition, in DD the N1 component to cue- and go-stimuli was decreased.ConclusionsThe behavioral results show that children with DD experience difficulties when performing the task. The finding of an enhanced P3 component to go-stimuli suggests that these difficulties are due to increased mental effort preceding movement. As age in DD mediated this enhancement, it seems that this increased mental effort is related to a developmental delay. The additional finding of a decreased N1 component in DD furthermore suggests a general diminished visuo-spatial attention. This effect reveals that DD might be a neuropsychological phenomenon similar to post-stroke neglect syndrome that does not resolve during development. These findings suggest that therapies aimed at reducing neglect could be a promising addition to existing therapies for DD.
- Reward-timing-dependent bidirectional modulation of cortical microcircuits during optical single-neuron operant conditioning. [Journal Article]
- Nat Commun 2014.:5551.
Animals rapidly adapt to environmental change. To reveal how cortical microcircuits are rapidly reorganized when an animal recognizes novel reward contingency, we conduct two-photon calcium imaging of layer 2/3 motor cortex neurons in mice and simultaneously reinforce the activity of a single cortical neuron with water delivery. Here we show that when the target neuron is not relevant to a pre-trained forelimb movement, the mouse increases the target neuron activity and the number of rewards delivered during 15-min operant conditioning without changing forelimb movement behaviour. The reinforcement bidirectionally modulates the activity of subsets of non-target neurons, independent of distance from the target neuron. The bidirectional modulation depends on the relative timing between the reward delivery and the neuronal activity, and is recreated by pairing reward delivery and photoactivation of a subset of neurons. Reward-timing-dependent bidirectional modulation may be one of the fundamental processes in microcircuit reorganization for rapid adaptation.
- What learning theories can teach us in designing neurofeedback treatments. [Journal Article]
- Front Hum Neurosci 2014.:894.
Popular definitions of neurofeedback point out that neurofeedback is a process of operant conditioning which leads to self-regulation of brain activity. Self-regulation of brain activity is considered to be a skill. The aim of this paper is to clarify that not only operant conditioning plays a role in the acquisition of this skill. In order to design the learning process additional references have to be derived from classical conditioning, two-process-theory and in particular from skill learning and research into motivational aspects. The impact of learning by trial and error, cueing of behavior, feedback, reinforcement, and knowledge of results as well as transfer of self-regulation skills into everyday life will be analyzed in this paper. In addition to these learning theory basics this paper tries to summarize the knowledge about acquisition of self-regulation from neurofeedback studies with a main emphasis on clinical populations. As a conclusion it is hypothesized that learning to self-regulate has to be offered in a psychotherapeutic, i.e., behavior therapy framework.