Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Direct link established between stimulus-response learning, substance abuse

Date:
October 31, 2013
Source:
Douglas Mental Health University Institute
Summary:
A neuroscientist has found that the region of the brain involved in stimulus-response learning is directly linked to the consumption of alcohol, tobacco and drugs. More specifically, she discovered that people who resorted to stimulus-response learning smoked more, had double the consumption of alcohol and were more likely to use cannabis.

Véronique Bohbot, PhD, neuroscientist at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute, found that the region of the brain involved in stimulus-response learning is directly linked to the consumption of alcohol, tobacco and drugs. More specifically, she discovered that people who resorted to stimulus-response learning smoked more, had double the consumption of alcohol and were more likely to use cannabis.

The results are published in the November edition of Hippocampus.

We rely on one of two strategies to navigate through our surroundings. One is called the spatial strategy, where we use visual cues and landmarks to develop cognitive maps that enable us to know where we are and how to get where we want to go. This process occurs in the hippocampus. The other is the stimulus-response strategy, which is a kind of auto-pilot: after travelling along the same route on a regular basis, we end up taking it out of habit. This process occurs in the striatum.

People who resort to stimulus-response learning have a more developed striatum and would consume more alcohol, tobacco or drugs.

Factors such as routine, stress and reward-seeking behaviour also contribute to stimulating the striatum, at the expense of the hippocampus.

"The literature indicates that children engage in stimulus-response strategies from a very young age," Véronique Bohbot explains. "Reward-seeking behavior in childhood, especially for immediate rewards like candy or playing action video games, stimulates the striatum and encourages stimulus-response strategies during navigation. This would predispose the child to drug seeking behaviour."

Previous studies have shown that an atrophied hippocampus increases the risk of developing a mental illness such as schizophrenia, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or Alzheimer's disease.

Véronique Bohbot will present her research results on November 13 at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego, where she will talk about the importance of improving spatial navigation skills to maintain a balance and increase chances of a healthy cognition.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Douglas Mental Health University Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Veronique D. Bohbot, Daniel Del Balso, Kate Conrad, Kyoko Konishi, Marco Leyton. Caudate nucleus-dependent navigational strategies are associated with increased use of addictive drugs. Hippocampus, 2013; 23 (11): 973 DOI: 10.1002/hipo.22187

Cite This Page:

Douglas Mental Health University Institute. "Direct link established between stimulus-response learning, substance abuse." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131031125321.htm>.
Douglas Mental Health University Institute. (2013, October 31). Direct link established between stimulus-response learning, substance abuse. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131031125321.htm
Douglas Mental Health University Institute. "Direct link established between stimulus-response learning, substance abuse." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131031125321.htm (accessed April 25, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, April 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Marijuana Use Lead To Serious Heart Problems?

Could Marijuana Use Lead To Serious Heart Problems?

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) — A new study says marijuana use could lead to serious heart-related complications. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) — A new study finds most crimes committed by people with mental illness are not caused by symptoms of their illness or disorder. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) — NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do We Get Nicer With Age?

Do We Get Nicer With Age?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) — A recent report claims personality can change over time as we age, and usually that means becoming nicer and more emotionally stable. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins