Social facilitation of d-amphetamine self-administration in rats

Cassandra D. Gipson, Justin R. Yates, Joshua S. Beckmann, Julie A. Marusich, Thomas R. Zentall, Michael T. Bardo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


The link between social influence and drug abuse has long been established in humans. However, preclinical animal models of drug abuse have only recently begun to consider the role of social influence. Since social factors influence the initiation and maintenance of drug use in humans, it is important to include these factors in preclinical animal models. The current study examined the effects of the presence of a social partner on responding for sucrose pellets under various motivational conditions, as well as on d-amphetamine (AMPH) self-administration. Rats were trained to lever press for either sucrose or AMPH (0.01 or 0.1 mg/kg/infusion unit dose). Following response stability, a novel same-sex conspecific was presented in an adjacent compartment separated by a clear divider, and responding for sucrose or AMPH reward was measured. Rats were allowed to restabilize, and subsequently given an additional partner presentation. Presence of the social partner increased responding only during the first pairing with the AMPH 0.1 mg/kg/infusion unit dose, whereas inhibition of responding was observed during the first pairing during access to the 0.01 mg/kg/infusion unit dose. Under free feed conditions, inhibition of sucrose pellet responding was observed in the presence of the social partner, but this effect was attenuated under food restriction. In contrast, the results demonstrate social facilitation of AMPH self-administration at a high unit dose, thus extending the influence of social factors to an operant conditioning task. This model of social facilitation may have important implications as a preclinical model of social influence on drug abuse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)409-419
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental and clinical psychopharmacology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • D-amphetamine
  • Rat
  • Self-administration
  • Social facilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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