Conditioning and extinction of tolerance to the hypothermic effect of ethanol in rats

James G. Mansfield, Christopher L. Cunningham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Examined the contribution of classical conditioning to tolerance to the hypothermic effect of ethanol in 56 male albino rats. During the tolerance acquisition phase, Ss were exposed at 4-day intervals to a distinctive set of environmental cues paired with injections of ethanol (1.4 g/kg, ip). Interspersed between these drug trials were exposures to an alternate set of cues paired with injections of saline. In addition, 3 groups experienced different amounts of stimulation and activity during drug exposure in order to determine whether "behavioral augmentation" of tolerance would occur. In subsequent tests, Ss were tolerant only in the presence of cues previously paired with ethanol. Moreover, this environmentally specific tolerance was associated with a conditioned hyporthermic response to placebo (saline) injections in the drug environment. An extinction procedure designed to weaken tolerance mediated by classical conditioning was also found to be effective. Evidence for conditioned tolerance was weakest in Ss experiencing low levels of activity during the initial drug exposure periods. (19 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)962-969
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1980
Externally publishedYes


  • environmental cues &
  • ethanol vs saline injections, tolerance to hypothermic drug effects, male rats

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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