Project 8B: Associations Between Methamphetamine Self-Administration and Impulsivity (Completed)

Suzanne Mitchell, Ph.D., Principal Investigator
Gregory Mark, Ph.D., Co-investigator

Evidence asserts that drug users, including methamphetamine users, behave more impulsively than controls when impulsivity is assessed using behavioral tasks.  However, the direction of causality is unclear: are impulsive people more likely to become drug users, or does drug use make people more impulsive, or both?

This pilot project will examine whether levels of impulsivity in methamphetamine-naïve mice, measured using the adjusting-amount procedure, predict rate and amount of subsequent methamphetamine self-administration.  A positive relationship suggests that impulsivity levels could be used to identify at-risk individuals, and thereby permit interventions designed to reduce that risk. 

Following methamphetamine exposure, the same group of mice will undergo an impulsivity assessment to examine whether exposure has augmented impulsive decision-making.  A positive result would have implications for basic research in cognitive neuroscience and for clinical research characterizing deficits associated with drug use and their remediation.