An assessment of novelty-seeking behavior in alcohol-preferring and nonpreferring rats

K. L. Nowak, C. M. Ingraham, D. L. Mckinzie, W. J. Mcbride, L. Lumeng, T. K. Li, J. M. Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Scopus citations


This study examined novelty-seeking behavior in rat populations selectively bred for high and low alcohol-drinking behavior. In Experiment 1, and 'odor-enhanced' novel environment produced greater behavioral activation in P compared to NP rats. In Experiment 2, the activity of high alcohol- drinking P and HAD rats was enhanced to a greater extent following the presentation of novel odors in a familiar arena, compared to the NP and LAD rats. The results suggest that, when measuring locomotor activity, alcohol- preferring rats are more reactive to novelty than their nonpreferring counterparts. Experiments 3 and 4, however, did not support the hypothesis that novelty seeking is associated with genetic vulnerability to high alcohol-drinking behavior. When measuring nose-poking behavior in response to novel odors and preference for a novel vs. a familiar chamber, behavior of the preferring lines did not differ from that of the nonpreferring lines, although P rats were more active in the place-preference paradigm. The overall results indicate that the relationship between novelty and alcohol drinking is only modestly associated, and is observed under specific conditions. Moreover, this study underscores the importance of using multiple measures when assessing complex behaviors such as novelty seeking. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-121
Number of pages9
JournalPharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2000


  • Alcohol nonpreferring rats
  • Alcohol-preferring rats
  • Locomotor activity
  • Novelty seeking
  • Type II alcoholism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Pharmacology

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