Habitual Preference for the Nondrug Reward in a Drug Choice Setting

Youna Vandaele, Karine Guillem, Serge H. Ahmed
Front. Behav. Neurosci.. 2020-05-25; 14:
DOI: 10.3389/fnbeh.2020.00078

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Vandaele Y(1), Guillem K(2)(3), Ahmed SH(2)(3).

Author information:
(1)Department of Psychiatry, Center for Psychiatric Neuroscience, Lausanne University Hospital, Lausanne, Switzerland.
(2)Institut des Maladies Neurodégénératives, UMR 5293, Université de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France.
(3)CNRS, Institut des Maladies Neurodégénératives, UMR 5293, Bordeaux, France.

For adaptive and efficient decision making, it must be possible to select between
habitual alternative courses of action. However, research in rodents suggests
that, even in the context of simple decision-making, choice behavior remains
goal-directed. In contrast, we recently found that during discrete trial choice
between cocaine and water, water-restricted rats preferred water and this
preference was habitual and inflexible (i.e., resistant to water devaluation by
satiation). Here we sought to test the reproducibility and generality of this
surprising finding by assessing habitual control of preference for saccharin over
cocaine in non-restricted rats. Specifically, after the acquisition of preference
for saccharin, saccharin was devalued and concurrent responding for both options
was measured under extinction. As expected, rats responded more for saccharin
than for cocaine during extinction, but this difference was unaffected by
saccharin devaluation. Together with our previous research, this result indicates
that preference for nondrug alternatives over cocaine is under habitual control,
even under conditions that normally support goal-directed control of choice
between nondrug options. The possible reasons for this difference are discussed.

Copyright © 2020 Vandaele, Guillem and Ahmed.


Auteurs Bordeaux Neurocampus