Locomotion Induced by Non-Contingent Intracranial Electrical Stimulation: Dopamine Dependence and General Characteristics

James Dougan, John Martin, Qun Wu, Laura Stanisz, Scott Martyn, Sandra Rokosik, Paul Garris, Valeri Farmer-Dougan

Research output: Journal ArticleArticlepeer-review


Intracranial self-stimulation (ICSS) is induced by delivery of electrical stimulation contingent upon a response such as bar pressing. This procedure has been widely used to investigate the brain reward system. Recent investigations, however, have noted that non-contingent electrical stimulation, also called experimenter applied stimulation (EAS), produces a unique set of locomotion behaviors that appear to be related to ICSS, and that these behaviors resemble locomotion similar to those elicited by dopamine enhancing drugs. However, little is known about the general characteristics of EAS-induced locomotion. While ICSS appears to be robust, long lasting, and highly rewarding in that the rat will invest vast amounts of time or energy to obtain the electrical stimulation, these parameters have not been explored for EAS. Moreover, the dopamine dependence of EAS-evoked locomotion is also not firmly established. Thus, the present study investigated dopamine dependence and general characteristics of the EAS-induced locomotion to determine its similarity to ICSS. Results suggested that motor and limbic systems were strongly activated by non-contingent EAS, and that the resulting locomotion was dopamine dependent, robust, continued across long time horizons, and was greater than that evoked by contingent electrical stimulation.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalBehavioural Processes
StatePublished - 2004


  • Psychology

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