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The effects of morphine on fixed-interval patterning and temporal discrimination.

  • A L Odum
  • D W Schaal
Publication Date
Sep 01, 2000


Changes produced by drugs in response patterns under fixed-interval schedules of reinforcement have been interpreted to result from changes in temporal discrimination. To examine this possibility, this experiment determined the effects of morphine on the response patterning of 4 pigeons during a fixed-interval 1-min schedule of food delivery with interpolated temporal discrimination trials. Twenty of the 50 total intervals were interrupted by choice trials. Pecks to one key color produced food if the interval was interrupted after a short time (after 2 or 4.64 s). Pecks to another key color produced food if the interval was interrupted after a long time (after 24.99 or 58 s). Morphine (1.0 to 10.0 mg/kg) decreased the index of curvature (a measure of response patterning) during fixed intervals and accuracy during temporal discrimination trials. Accuracy was equally disrupted following short and long sample durations. Although morphine disrupted temporal discrimination in the context of a fixed-interval schedule, these effects are inconsistent with interpretations of the disruption of response patterning as a selective overestimation of elapsed time. The effects of morphine may be related to the effects of more conventional external stimuli on response patterning.

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