Year of Publication

2015

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Chana K. Akins

Abstract

The attribution of incentive salience to cues that become associated with drugs of abuse is a critical characteristic of individuals who may be vulnerable to drug addiction. Rodents with the propensity to sign track are thought to be vulnerable to drug abuse. The goal of the current work was to investigate whether sign trackers (STs) would acquire cocaine conditioned place preference (CPP) to a discrete cue using an avian species. In Experiment 1, sign and goal trackers (GTs) were first identified using a one third rank order split. Following identification, cocaine-CPP was conducted with a discrete cue in each end chamber. Contrary to previous research, results showed that GTs showed a CPP to the discrete cue but STs did not. Experiment 2 was conducted to determine whether sign and GTs had been misclassified with the rank order split. Experiment 2 compared the rank order method with a t-test method (absolute criterion). Misclassification of both sign and GTs occurred using the rank order split. The findings indicated that use of a more accurate method to identify sign and GTs may have led to different results for Experiment 1. The t-test method may be useful for models that require identification of STs.

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