The Return of Rate Dependence

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Rate dependence, a well-known phenomenon in behavioral pharmacology, appears to have declined as a topic of interest, perhaps, as a result of being viewed pertinent to only the preclinical investigation of drugs on schedule-controlled performance. Obstacles to data interpretation due to conflation with regression to the mean also appear to have contributed to the topic’s decline. Despite this reduction in exposure, rate dependence is a useful concept and tool that can be used to determine sources of variability, predict therapeutic outcomes, and identify individuals that are most likely to respond therapeutically. Armed with new statistical methods and an understanding of the broad range of conditions under which rate dependence can be observed, we urge researchers to revisit the concept, use the appropriate analysis methods, and to design empirical studies a priori to further explore rate dependence.

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