Impulsivity and Drug Addiction: A Neurobiological Perspective

Trevor Robbins

in The Oxford Handbook of Impulse Control Disorders

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780195389715
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Impulsivity and Drug Addiction: A Neurobiological Perspective

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A conceptual analysis of the impulsivity construct in behavioral and neurobiological terms is followed by an analysis of its causal role in certain forms of drug addiction in both human and animal studies. The main focus of this chapter is on a rat model of impulsivity based on premature responding in the five-choice serial reaction time task and a more detailed characterization of this phenotype in neurobehavioral, neurochemical, and genetic terms. Evidence is surveyed that high impulsivity on this task is associated with the escalation subsequently of cocaine self-administration behavior and also with a tendency toward compulsive cocaine seeking. Novelty reactivity, by contrast, is associated with the enhanced acquisition of self-administration, but not with the escalation of intravenous self-administration of cocaine or the development of compulsive behavior associated with cocaine seeking. These results indicate that the vulnerability to stimulant addiction may depend on different factors, as expressed through distinct presumed endophenotypes. These observations help us further to dissociate various aspects of the impulsivity construct in neural as well as behavioral terms.

Keywords: impulsivity; stimulants; substance use disorders; genetic factors

Article.  5849 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Clinical Psychology ; Developmental Psychology

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