Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Michael T. Bardo


Those with substance use disorders can undergo craving and relapse when re-exposed to a drug-associated context. This study determined if renewal of cocaine seeking is differentially controlled by contexts consisting of social and/or nonsocial stimuli. Experiment 1, rats self-administered cocaine in Context A which included a social peer and house light illumination. Following self-administration, rats were randomly assigned to an AAA or ABA group for extinction and renewal. For the AAA rats, context was similar to self-administration; for ABA rats, the drug-associated stimuli (peer and house light) were removed (Context B). Following extinction, renewal of cocaine seeking was examined by testing the peer alone, house light alone, or the combination. Experiment 2 was similar, except only a house light (no peer) was used throughout the experiment. Results revealed rats acquired cocaine self-administration and extinguished lever pressing for both experiments. For Experiment 1, ABA rats renewed cocaine seeking to the peer alone and peer+house light but not the house light alone. Experiment 2 found ABA rats renewed cocaine seeking to the house light alone, but the AAA group did not. These data indicate that social peers serve as powerful stimuli that can overshadow nonsocial stimuli in the renewal of cocaine seeking.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Funding Information

Support provided by National Institute of Health grant R21 DA041755 and National Institute on Drug Abuse T32 DA035200.