Effects of Apomorphine and Haloperidol on Response Suppression Learning of Young Chicks

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In four experiments, the effects of augmenting or blocking dopamine receptor activity on response suppression learning of Colburn × Colburn chicks were determined. In each experiment, 4-day-old chicks were trained to key peck for heat reward and then tested for response suppression learning by using either a response-contingent punishment or an extinction-punishment task. Before response suppression testing, different groups of chicks were injected ip with apomorphine (1.0, 2.0, or 4.0 mg/kg) either alone or after pretreatment with haloperidol (0.5 or 1.0 mg/kg). Regardless of the response suppression task used, chicks injected with apomorphine had difficulty inhibiting their responding; whereas, chicks injected with haloperidol, either alone or before apomorphine treatment, responded on fewer trials than saline-treated chicks. During extinction testing, 4-day-old chicks given only apomorphine showed the typical suppressive effect of punishment on responding rather than the paradoxical punishment-induced increase in responding found in normal 1-day-old chicks. These results indicate that activation of dopamine receptors retards response suppression learning of the 4-day-old chick, but functional changes in central dopaminergic mechanisms are not primarily responsible for the normal age-dependent improvement in response suppression learning of the young chick.

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