Contribution of cocaine-related cues to concurrent monetary choice in humans

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10 Scopus citations


Rationale: Theoretical accounts highlight the importance of drug-related cues for the development and persistence of drug-taking behavior. Few studies have evaluated the ability of spatially contiguous drug cues to bias decisions between two concurrently presented non-drug reinforcers. Objective: Evaluate the contribution of spatially contiguous cocaine cues to choice between two concurrently presented monetary reinforcers Methods: Participants with cocaine use disorder completed a cued concurrent choice task. Two cues (one cocaine and one control image) were presented side-by-side followed by concurrent monetary offers below each image. Concurrent choice was measured for cocaine-side advantageous, equal, and disadvantageous concurrent monetary offers. The primary dependent measure was bias for selecting cocaine-cued monetary reinforcers. Three experiments tested selectivity of cocaine-cued bias in individuals with a cocaine use history (Experiment 1), replication when including additional control trials (Experiment 2), and a potential attentional mechanism evaluated using eye-tracking technology (Experiment 3). Results: Significant and robust cocaine-cued bias at equal monetary value was observed in three experiments (mean percent choice = 65–77%) and higher Drug Abuse Screening Test (DAST) scores were associated with greater cocaine-choice bias. These experiments demonstrated that cocaine-cued bias was (1) selective to individuals with a cocaine use history, (2) specific to trials involving a cocaine cue, and (3) partially associated with attentional bias. Conclusions: These experiments provide evidence that drug-related cues can influence choice and potentially promote maladaptive decision making during concurrent choice events. Future research evaluating prospective associations of drug-cued bias with drug-associated behaviors will help reveal the clinical relevance for substance use disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2871-2881
Number of pages11
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors gratefully acknowledge the staff of the University of Kentucky Laboratory of Human Behavioral Pharmacology for technical assistance. The Institutional Review Board of the University of Kentucky approved all procedures. Participants provided written informed consent. The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Funding Information:
Funding The study received financial support from the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health (R21 DA035376; R01 DA036550) and the National Science Foundation (1247392). These funding agencies had no role in study design, data collection or analysis, or preparation and submission of the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.


  • Addiction
  • Conditioning
  • Cue
  • Drug
  • Salience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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