Chronic cocaine pretreatment facilitates Pavlovian sexual conditioning in male Japanese quail

Neil Levens, Chana K. Akins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Repeated drug exposure that results in behavioral sensitization has been shown to enhance sex-seeking behaviors in rats as well as facilitate Pavlovian excitatory and inhibitory conditioning. In the present experiment, male Japanese quail were given repeated presentations of cocaine (10 mg/kg, i.p.) that resulted in increased locomotor activity relative to saline. After a 10-day withdrawal period, subjects received sexual conditioning trials that consisted of presentation of an object conditioned stimulus (CS) followed by sexual reinforcement. Results showed that birds that previously received chronic cocaine demonstrated more conditioned approach behavior to the CS object, a shorter latency to copulate with a female, and made more cloacal contacts (copulatory behavior) during sexual reinforcement than saline-treated birds. The findings suggest that chronic cocaine later facilitates Pavlovian conditioning in a sexual behavior paradigm. This may be the result of cocaine facilitating learning via the dopaminergic system. The findings are discussed in the context of the incentive sensitization theory and possible neuronal mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)451-457
Number of pages7
JournalPharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2004

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Sarah Becker, Brad Cooper, and Tim Fritz for help with data collection. This work was submitted by NL in partial fulfillment of the PhD requirement at the University of Kentucky, and was supported by NIDA grant DA00508 awarded to CKA.

Copyright 2012 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Avian
  • Behavioral sensitization
  • Birds
  • Chronic cocaine
  • Learning
  • Pavlovian conditioning
  • Sexual behavior
  • Sexual conditioning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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