The Role of Dopamine in Reinforcement: Changes in Reinforcement Sensitivity Induced by D1-Type, D2-Type, and Nonselective Dopamine Receptor Agonists

Natalie A. Bratcher, Valeri Farmer-Dougan, James Dougan, Byron A. Heidenreich, Paul A. Garris

Research output: Journal ArticleArticlepeer-review


Dose-dependent changes in sensitivity to reinforcement were found when rats were treated with low, moderate, and high doses of the partial dopamine D 1 -type receptor agonist SKF38393 and with the nonselective dopamine agonist apomorphine, but did not change when rats were treated with similar doses of the selective dopamine D 2 -type receptor agonist quinpirole. Estimates of bias did not differ significantly across exposure to SKF38393 or quinpirole, but did change significantly at the high dose of apomorphine. Estimates of goodness of fit (r 2 ) did not change significantly during quinpirole exposure. Poor goodness of fit was obtained for the high doses of SKF38393 and apomorphine. Decrements in absolute rates of responding were observed at the high dose of quinpirole and at the moderate and high doses of SKF38393 and apomorphine. Changes in r 2 and absolute responding may be due to increases in stereotyped behavior during SKF38393 and apomorphine exposure that, in contrast to quinpirole, were distant from the response lever. The present data provide evidence that sensitivity to reward is affected more strongly by dopamine D 1 -like receptors rather than D 2 -like receptors, consistent with evidence from other studies investigating consummatory dopamine behavior and the tonic/phasic dopamine hypothesis.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalJournal of the Experimental Analysis f Behavior
StatePublished - Nov 2005


  • Dopamine D1-like and D2-like receptors
  • quinpirole
  • SKF38393
  • apomorphine
  • matching
  • sensitivity to reward
  • lever press
  • rat.


  • Psychology

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