This review provides a brief historical overview of the behavioral paradigms that have been used to study alcohol consumption using rats as subjects, and then critically evaluates these models' ability to address the complexities involved in ethanol-seeking and self-administration. Many of these models have been influenced by a "behavioral pharmacology" approach, and therefore have studied oral ethanol reinforcement in a manner similar to food and water reinforcement. Because of this, these models have failed to adequately assess the complex seeking responses that are an integral part of ethanol-motivated behaviors. As an alternative, an appetitive-consummatory approach that procedurally separates and measures the two phases of behavior is suggested, and recent data using this model are reviewed. It is important that animal models that are to be used to evaluate underlying physiological mechanisms of the control of ethanol self-administration accurately address all of the complex behaviors that are involved in intake control.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience