Effects of ethanol on human free-operant cooperative responding

Ralph Spiga, Robert H. Bennett, Don R. Cherek, John Grabowski

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3 Scopus citations


The effects of ethanol (0.5, 0.75 and 1.00 g/kg) on human cooperative behavior were examined. Ethanol or placebo was administered 30 min before the second of five trials. During the first of two alternating schedule components, button presses were maintained by a random interval (RI) 60-s schedule of point additions to a counter marked 'Your Earnings'. During the second. Choice, component a concurrent RI 60-s schedule maintained button presses on two manipulanda. Subjects randomly assigned to the social group were instructed that they were paired with another person and could earn points working with or independently of this person. Working together, the cooperative response, simultaneously produced points on counters marked 'Other's Earnings' and 'Your Earnings'. Working independently, the independent response produced points only on the counter marked 'Your Earnings'. The other person was fictitious. The instructions for the non-social group did not mention another subject and the counter marked 'Other's Earnings' was not visible but schedule contingencies were identical to those for the social instruction group. For the social instructions group, 1.00 g/kg ethanol increased the proportion of cooperative responses and time allocated the cooperative option. For the non-social instruction group, time allocated to the topographically identical but non-social equivalent ot the cooperative response decreased at the same dose. No significant between-group effects were observed following acute administration of 0.50 and 0.75 g/kg ethanol. These results suggest that the instructions established a functionally distinct social, cooperative, response which was differentially affected by ethanol.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-147
Number of pages9
JournalDrug and alcohol dependence
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1994
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This researchw as supported by Grant DA06633 (Dr. Ralph Spiga, principal investigator) from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. We thank David Eshaghpour for his technical assistance.W e are also grateful to Drs. John Roache and Howard Rhoades, for their helpful comments.


  • Ethanol
  • Human cooperative behavior


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