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Behav Processes. 2011 Jul;87(3):302-5. doi: 10.1016/j.beproc.2011.05.002. Epub 2011 May 20.

Influence of escalating alternative reinforcer values on cigarette choice.

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  • 1Department of Behavioral Science, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington, KY 40536-0086, USA.


The availability of alternative reinforcers reduces drug taking. Escalating alternative reinforcer values have been used to initiate and maintain abstinence from drug use. A reset in reinforcer value has been added to the schedule of alternative reinforcer presentation to discourage relapse. The purpose of this preliminary study was to test the influence of escalating and escalating and resetting alternative reinforcer value on cigarette choice in the human laboratory. Fourteen daily cigarette smokers completed this experiment, which required one practice and three experimental sessions. During each experimental session, subjects made six choices between smoking a cigarette and receiving money, available under Constant, Escalating or Escalating and Resetting conditions. The total number of cigarettes chosen and puffs taken, but not the maximum consecutive number of cigarettes choices, was decreased in the Escalating condition relative to the Constant condition. The maximum number of consecutive cigarettes chosen was decreased in the Escalating and Resetting condition relative to the Constant condition. The proportion of money earned was increased in the Escalating condition relative to the Constant and Escalating and Resetting conditions. These initial findings indicate that whereas an escalating alternative reinforcer schedule reduces cigarette smoking overall, an escalating and resetting alternative reinforcer schedule may reduce repeated cigarette smoking (i.e., relapse).

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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