Comparison of the effects of 2,5-dimethoxy-4-iodoamphetamine and D-amphetamine on the ability of rats to discriminate the durations and intensities of light stimuli

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Rats' ability to discriminate durations is disrupted by the monoamine-releasing agent D-amphetamine and the 5-HT2 receptor agonist 2,5-dimethoxy-4-iodoamphetamine (DOI). It is unknown whether this effect is specific for temporal discrimination or reflects general disruption of stimulus control. This experiment addressed this question by comparing the effects of D-amphetamine and DOI on temporal discrimination and discrimination along a nontemporal dimension, light intensity. Twelve rats responded on a schedule in which a light (intensity 22 cd/m2) was presented for t seconds (2.5–47.5 s), after which levers A and B were presented. Responses on A were reinforced when t was less than 25 s, and responses on B were reinforced when t was greater than 25 s. Twelve rats responded on a similar schedule in which a light of intensity i (3.6–128.5 cd/m2) was presented for 25 s. Responses on A were reinforced when i was less than 22 cd/m2, and responses on B were reinforced when i was greater than 22 cd/m2. Logistic functions were fitted and psychophysical parameters estimated [T50, I50 (central tendency of temporal or light-intensity discrimination); Weber fraction (relative discriminative precision)]. D-Amphetamine (0.2–0.8 mg/kg) increased the Weber fraction for temporal and light-intensity discrimination; DOI (0.625–0.25 mg/kg) increased it for temporal discrimination only. Both drugs increased T50; neither altered I50. D-Amphetamine and DOI have similar effects on temporal discrimination but different effects on light-intensity discrimination. The increase in T50 may reflect the impairment of sustained attention during prolonged stimulus presentation.

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