Mar 02, 2024  
2019-2020 Van Loan Catalog 
2019-2020 Van Loan Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

ABA 753 - Behavioral Research in Psychopharmacology

The Introduction to Behavioral Pharmacology is a difficult course and requires considerable effort by the student. Although the course is arranged in a lecture-discussion format, there will be ample class discussion of important issues. With this arrangement, each student is expected to draw on his or her background to make helpful and thoughtful contributions to the class discussions when they arise. 
The Science of behavioral pharmacology examines a variety of relationships between the effects of pharmacological agents and the ongoing behavior of organisms including humans. More precisely, these relationships consist of contemporary and historic events in both the external environment and the internal neurochemical environment. Behavioral pharmacology is a discipline that emerged as the result of the combination of the experimental analysis of behavior and classical pharmacology. Its formal inception is often dated to a paper by Peter B. Dews in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics in 1955, which he showed that the behavioral effects of pentobarbital and amphetamine depended upon the schedule of reinforcement maintaining that behavior.
The discipline differs from other approaches to the study of drugs that act upon the nervous system, such as psychopharmacology, in that behavioral pharmacologists emphasize the study of the behavior of intact organisms (rather than hypothetical determinants) and the behavioral mechanisms of drug action are also studied. We will examine how these variables determine what is observed as overt behavior.
General topic areas include, but are not limited to drug abuse, mental illness, and brain function. The experimental analysis of behavior provides the theoretical framework from which we may examine drug-behavior interactions. This conceptual framework will form the basis for our studies. The characterization of drug classes on the basis of their effects on operant behavior is a widely recognized and well-used technique in both academic and industrial pharmacology.   

Credits: 3