Nicotine has been shown to increase responding maintained by turning off a houselight. To examine whether this effect extends to other primary reinforcing visual stimuli, the present study assessed whether nicotine would increase responding maintained by the illumination, and not just the darkening, of a visual stimulus. One group of rats (n = 4) was initially trained to press two levers, using food as a consequence, while a separate group of rats (n = 4) was initially trained to press one lever. After training, all rats pressed an active lever to turn on or turn off a houselight for 10 s, while presses on an inactive lever had no programmed consequences. A third group of rats (n = 4) were never trained to press either of the two levers and did not experience any programmed consequences for pressing. Although nicotine slightly increased lever pressing on both levers in the third group, nicotine resulted in much greater increases in responding maintained by the visual stimuli in the first two groups. Nicotine selectively increased responding maintained by visual stimuli, regardless of which levers were originally trained and regardless of whether those stimuli consisted of turning on or turning off a houselight, suggesting that nicotine enhances the value of primary reinforcing visual stimuli.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Animal Science and Zoology
- Behavioral Neuroscience