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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Award

Spring 2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Department of Graduate Psychology

Abstract

Past research has shown that the effects of 96 hr of Rapid Eye Movement Sleep Deprivation (REMSD) on positively reinforced behavior is dependent upon the schedule of reinforcement maintaining the behavior. One one hand, lean schedules of reinforcement after REMSD maintained low rates of behavior. On the other hand, rich schedules of reinforcement after REMSD maintained behavior at baseline levels. Other research has shown that the use of stimulants reversed the effects of REMSD on operant tasks. The current study investigated the effects of caffeine on rats’ lever pressing after 96-hr REMSD. During baseline, doses of vehicle were administered 15 min prior to sessions in which the delivery of reinforcers occurred according to a variable-interval 30-s schedule. After reaching stability rats were exposed to 96-hr REMSD or an aquatic tank control (TC). Following this 96-hr period, a dose of 10 mg/kg of caffeine or vehicle was administered 15 min prior to the session. Ninety-six hours of REMSD did not result in a decrease in responding when using a variable-interval 30-s schedule of reinforcement. Pre-session injections of caffeine resulted in no change in lever pressing regardless of sleep condition. I discuss possible reasons for an inability to replicate previous findings including weight of animals and size of elevated platforms in regard to animal weight. I also discuss the inability to alter rats’ lever pressing using caffeine in the context of potency and environment contingencies. Finally, I discuss future directions for research of REMSD and schedules of positive reinforcement.

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Psychology Commons

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