Persistent behavior at high rates maintained by intravenous self-administration of nicotine

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Science  30 Oct 1981:
Vol. 214, Issue 4520, pp. 573-575
DOI: 10.1126/science.7291998


Squirrel monkeys pressed a level at high rates under a second-order schedule of reinforcement in which level pressing produced a brief visual stimulus that was occasionally contiguous with an intravenous injection of nicotine. The rate of lever pressing could be markedly reduced either by substituting saline for nicotine injections or by blocking the effects of nicotine with mecamylamine. The rate of level pressing could be reduced by eliminating the brief visual stimulus. These results show that nicotine can function as an effective reinforcer under a second-order schedule of drug self-administration and that an environmental stimulus associated with nicotine intake can contribute to the maintenance of persistent drug-seeking behavior.