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Biol Psychiatry. 2009 May 15;65(10):900-4. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2008.11.016. Epub 2008 Dec 25.

Amphetamine-induced place preference in humans.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neuroscience, The University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA.



The conditioned place preference procedure is a widely used animal model of rewarding drug effects that, to date, has not been tested in humans. In this study, we sought to demonstrate that humans, like nonhumans, would exhibit a preference for a place previously associated with amphetamine. Further, we investigated the relationship between conditioned place preference and the mood-altering effects of the drug.


Thirty-one healthy individuals participated in a five-session procedure during which they experienced the effects of d-amphetamine (20 mg) or placebo on two occasions in two distinctive environments (sessions 1-4). One group of subjects (paired group, n = 19) received amphetamine consistently in one room and placebo in another room, whereas a second group (unpaired group, n = 12) received amphetamine and placebo without regard to room. During the sessions, participants completed questionnaires to rate their mood. On the fifth session, they rated their preference for the two rooms.


Individuals in the paired group rated their liking of the amphetamine-paired room significantly higher than the placebo-associated room, whereas there was no difference between ratings of the two rooms for individuals in the unpaired group. In the paired group, drug-liking ratings during the conditioning sessions positively predicted preference for the drug-associated room, whereas reports of amphetamine-induced anxiety and dysphoria negatively predicted room-liking scores.


This study demonstrates that humans, like nonhumans, prefer a place associated with amphetamine administration. These findings support the idea that subjective responses to a drug contribute to its ability to establish place conditioning.

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