Drugs, including alcohol, that are abused function as powerful reinforcers. Effective drug and alcohol addiction treatments decrease the reinforcing efficacy of the abused substance. Reinforcing efficacy arises from a variety of sources, documentation of which may aid in designing treatment and prevention interventions. Understanding the origin of the reinforcing efficacy may also prove useful in understanding both the initiation and maintenance of drug-taking behavior. This article reports results from 2 studies conducted to begin examining the degree to which postingestive consequences alter the reinforcing efficacy of alcohol. Participants consumed identical low-dose alcohol drinks (Experiment 1) or placebo drinks (Experiment 2) and then completed a set of laboratory tasks designed to mimic drug impairment or enhancement of performance. Following this, participants could choose to consume one of the drinks. Participants generally selected the beverage that had previously been associated with earning greater amounts of money. This effect was more pronounced and durable for the placebo beverage than for the low-dose alcohol beverage.
Roll, John M.; Mercado, Pedro; Chudzynski, Joy; and Reilly, Mark P.
"The Contribution of PostIngestive Associations to Alcohol Self-Administration,"
The Psychological Record: Vol. 59
, Article 2.
Available at: http://opensiuc.lib.siu.edu/tpr/vol59/iss3/2