High-frequency ultrasonic vocalizations index conditioned pharmacological reward in rats

Brian Knutson*, Jeffrey Burgdorf, Jaak Panksepp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

170 Scopus citations

Abstract

We have proposed that short (<0.5 s), high-frequency (~50 kHz) ultrasonic vocalizations ('50-kHz USVs') index a positive affective state in adult rats, because they occur prior to rewarding social interactions (i.e., rough-and-tumble play, sex). To evaluate this hypothesis in the case of nonsocial stimuli, we examined whether rats would make increased 50-kHz USVs in places associated with the administration of rewarding pharmacological compounds [i.e., amphetamine (AMPH) and morphine (MORPH)]. In Experiment 1, rats made a greater percentage of 50-kHz USVs on the AMPH-paired side of a two-compartment chamber than on the vehicle-paired side, even after statistical correction for place preference. In Experiment 2, rats made a higher percentage of 50-kHz USVs on the MORPH-paired side than on the vehicle-paired side, despite nonsignificant place preference. These findings support the hypothesis that 50-kHz USVs mark a positive affective state in rats and introduce a novel and rapid marker of pharmacological reward. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)639-643
Number of pages5
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Volume66
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1999

Keywords

  • Amphetamine
  • Morphine
  • Rat
  • Reward
  • Vocalization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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