Effects of phencyclidine, pentobarbital, and d-amphetamine on the acquisition and performance of conditional discriminations in monkeys

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In each of two components of a multiple schedule, monkeys were required to respond on a right or left lever depending upon the stimulus combination (a color and a geometric form) presented. Reinforcement of a response in the presence of one stimulus (the form) was therefore conditional upon the other stimulus (the color). The completion of a two-member chain of discriminations produced a food pellet. Errors produced a brief timeout. One component of the multiple schedule was a repeated-acquisition task where the discriminative stimuli for left- and right-lever responses wer changed each session (learning). In the other component, the discriminative stimuli for left- or right-lever responses were the same each session (performance). Phencyclidine, pentobarbital, and d-amphetamine each produced dose-related decreases in the overall rate of responding in both components of the multiple schedule. At high doses each drug increased the percent errors in each component. At lower doses, however, the three drugs produced selective effects on accuracy. Errors were increased in the learning component at lower doses than those required to disrupt the discrimination in the performance component. A signal detection analysis of the data revealed that none of the drugs tested increased errors by selectively affecting either discriminability or bias. © 1980.

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Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior

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