Learning, Expectancy, and Behavioral Control

Muriel Vogel-Sprott and Mark T. Fillmore

in Associative Learning and Conditioning Theory

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199735969
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894529 | DOI:
Learning, Expectancy, and Behavioral Control

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This chapter reviews research demonstrating that learned expectancies mediate behavior. A drug-taking situation illustrates how associative learning develops drug-related expectancies. Experiments are described to show that manipulating individual expectancies can reveal their causal influence on the intensity of the drug effect and the type of behavioral response to the drug. These results are also related to other evidence that implicates behavioral disinhibition and impulsivity in the risk for drug abuse. Evidence is presented to show how a drug user’s expectancy about the disinhibiting effects of a drug can alter the response to the drug. Taken together, the findings provide new information on how drug-related expectancies affect basic mechanisms of behavioral control, and they offer new insights into how expectancies can mediate the well-known association between disinhibition and risk for drug abuse.

Keywords: alcohol; learning; expectancy; disinhibition; impulsivity

Chapter.  13312 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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