Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Paula Millin

Abstract

The present study used the conditioned place preference (CPP) paradigm to assess whether the presence of a drugged conspecific enhances the hedonic value of cocaine. Adolescent (PND 31-36) and adult (PND 67-74) male Sprague-Dawley rats were administered a subthreshold dose of 3.0mg/kg or 7.5mg/kg of cocaine, respectively, either alone or while in the presence of a similarly drugged conspecific. CPP was measured by comparing time spent in the white compartment (non-preferred at baseline) prior to and after conditioning. CPP Adolescent rats in the control condition demonstrated decreased preference for the white compartment between pre-test and post-test (p < .05). Adolescent rats that received social conditioning demonstrated a marginally significant increase in time spent in the white compartment at post-test (p = .055) and adolescent rats who received social/cocaine conditioning showed a trend toward spending more time in the white compartment at post-test (p = .11). Adult rats showed no change in preference for time spent in the white compartment between pre-test and post-test. The current study replicated the finding that adolescent rats find social interaction more rewarding than adult rats (Spear, 2001), however, the effect of cocaine on the social/cocaine adolescent group is uncertain as they demonstrated marginally less increased time in white than the social alone adolescent group. This study found that at a dose of 7.5mg/kg cocaine, adults did not demonstrate place preference with or without the added element of social interaction. Ultimately these findings demonstrate the difference in how reinforcing adults and adolescents find social interaction, and raise further questions for how cocaine affects social behavior in adolescent rats.

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