Response artifact in the measurement of neuroleptic-induced anhedonia

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Science  17 Jul 1981:
Vol. 213, Issue 4505, pp. 357-359
DOI: 10.1126/science.7244622


Systemic administration of the neuroleptic drug alpha-flupenthixol attenuated lever-pressing behavior in rats responding for rewarding brain stimulation. The magnitude of this attenuation was dose-dependent and resembled the effects of reward reduction and termination. However, when the operant response requirements of the same rats were changed to nose poking, identical drug treatments produced relatively little attenuation in performance. These data do not support the belief that neuroleptics produce a general state of anhedonia. Rather, the apparent suppression of reinforced behaviors depends at least in part on the kinetic requirements of the response.