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Physiol Behav. 1992 Nov;52(5):873-8.

Maudsley reactive (MR/Har) and nonreactive (MNRA/Har) rats: performance in an operant conflict paradigm.

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  • 1Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy & AHP, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48202.


The present studies were designed to characterize the behavior of Maudsley reactive (MR/Har) and nonreactive (MNRA/Har) rats in a modification of the Geller-Seifter operant conflict paradigm. Food-restricted (85% of free-feeding weights) female MR/Har and MNRA/Har rats were trained to lever press for food reinforcement in a multiple-schedule operant conflict paradigm. In the absence of a tone, a fixed ratio-30 (FR-30) schedule for reinforcement only was in effect (i.e., every 30th lever press resulted in the delivery of a 45-mg food pellet). During the presence of a tone, a fixed ratio-1 (FR-1) schedule of both reinforcement (food) and punishment (0.20 mA footshock applied for 500 ms) was in effect (i.e., each lever press resulted in both food and shock delivery). The tone periods were 27 s in duration and were presented on a variable interval (VI)-120-s schedule (approximately 20 tones/40-min session). Behavioral testing was conducted 5 days/week for 35 weeks. Initially, punished responding between the MR/Har and MNRA/Har rat strains did not differ dramatically. However, over the course of many weeks of conflict testing, rats of the MNRA/Har strain came to accept significantly more shocks than did subjects of the MR/Har strain. A direct examination of footshock sensitivity in these rats revealed that this difference in conflict behavior over time was not due to strain differences in shock sensitivity. The mechanism for this time-dependent difference in conflict behavior between the MR/Har and MNRA/Har rats remains undetermined.

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