Drug-induced conditioned place preference and aversion in mice

Christopher L. Cunningham, Christina M. Gremel, Peter A. Groblewski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

334 Scopus citations


This protocol describes the equipment and methods used to establish conditioned place preference (CPP) or aversion (CPA). Place conditioning is a form of Pavlovian conditioning routinely used to measure the rewarding or aversive motivational effects of objects or experiences (e.g., abused drugs). Here, we present a place conditioning procedure that has been used extensively to study the motivational effects of ethanol and other abused drugs in mice. This protocol involves three phases: (i) habituation (or a pretest), (ii) conditioning of an association between the drug and a tactile or visual stimulus and (iii) a test that offers a choice between the drug-associated cue and a neutral cue. If the drug has motivational significance, mice will spend significantly more time (CPP) or less time (CPA) in proximity to the drug-associated cue. Potential problems in the design and interpretation of place conditioning studies are discussed. A typical experiment lasts 2 weeks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1662-1670
Number of pages9
JournalNature protocols
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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