Modeling Appetitive Pavlovian‐Instrumental Interactions in Mice

Eoin C. O'Connor1, David N. Stephens1, Hans S. Crombag1

1 Behavioral and Clinical Neuroscience Research Group, School of Psychology, The University of Sussex, Brighton, East Sussex, United Kingdom
Publication Name:  Current Protocols in Neuroscience
Unit Number:  Unit 8.25
DOI:  10.1002/0471142301.ns0825s53
Online Posting Date:  October, 2010
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In appetitive Pavlovian associative learning, a stimulus (conditioned stimulus, CS) that has been associated with the delivery of a reinforcing event (unconditioned stimulus, US; e.g., food) can subsequently elicit or modulate goal‐directed instrumental behaviors. For example, a Pavlovian CS can serve to reinforce (novel) instrumental behavior (conditioned reinforcement or CRf), or it can energize and potentiate ongoing instrumental responses when presented non‐contingently (Pavlovian‐instrumental transfer or PIT). Notably, these different effects of a Pavlovian CS on instrumental behavior are mediated by dissociable psychological and neurobiological mechanisms. Given the critical role that Pavlovian‐instrumental interactions play in regulating motivated behavior and maladaptive manifestations of motivation such as eating disorders and addictions, understanding the underlying psychological and neurobiological mechanisms will be important. This unit describes behavioral protocols that produce robust and reliable PIT and CRf in mice and that open the door for future studies using transgenic approaches into the molecular mechanisms underlying associative learning and motivation. Curr. Protoc. Neurosci. 53:8.25.1‐8.25.27. © 2010 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Keywords: associative learning; behavior; classical conditioning; operant conditioning; incentive learning; reward; transgenic; knockout; mouse

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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Basic Protocol 1: Pavlovian‐Instrumental Transfer
  • Alternate Protocol 1: Conditioned Reinforcement
  • Commentary
  • Literature Cited
  • Figures
  • Tables
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Basic Protocol 1: Pavlovian‐Instrumental Transfer

  • 20% (w/v) sucrose solution made fresh daily (or 14 mg dust‐free precision pellets for pellet dispenser; e.g., Bio‐serve)
  • 70% ethanol
  • Eight to twelve mice per experimental group (e.g., male, at least 8 weeks old, C57BL/6J mice; Jackson Laboratories)
  • A personal computer running MS Windows, Delphi compiler, and MED‐PC IV, and interfaced with the conditioning chambers
  • Investigator‐programmed State Notation procedures, written using a plain text (txt) editing (e.g., Windows Notepad or Mac OS Textedit) and Delphi compiler software
  • Conditioning chambers (Med‐Associates)
  • 20‐ml plastic syringes and dull 16‐G hypodermic needles
  • Single syringe liquid infusion pumps (PHM‐100; Razel Scientific Instruments/Med‐Associates) and hypodermic tubing (polyethylene (PE) or Tygon)
  • Two retractable levers (ENV‐310M; Med‐Associates)
  • Liquid delivery receptacle (ENV‐303LP; Med‐Associates)
  • Auditory stimulus module(s) to present 3 kHz tone or white‐noise (ANL‐926; Med‐Associates)
  • Decibel (dB) meter (e.g., Radio Shack) for calibration of auditory stimuli (10 dB above background)

Alternate Protocol 1: Conditioned Reinforcement

  • Two operant nose‐poke modules (Med‐Associates)
  • Investigator‐programmed State Notation procedures, written using Med‐PC IV software, for experimental variable control and data acquisition
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Literature Cited

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