Letter | Published:

Effect of ACTH on Extinction of Rewarded Behaviour is blocked by Previous Administration of ACTH


THE behavioural effects of “frustrative nonreward”1 (that is, the omission of an expected reward) seem to be particularly sensitive to certain drugs, notably sodium amylobarbitone and alcohol2–4. A study of the effects of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) on this kind of behaviour began recently in this institute. This hormone, although it is quite different pharmacologically from amylobarbitone and alcohol, turns out to resemble them5–8 in blocking two complex behavioural consequences of frustrative nonreward : the partial reinforcement acquisition9–11 and extinction12 effects. The two partial reinforcement effects are observed when an animal's response is rewarded or not rewarded in an unpredictable manner; both were blocked by 8 IU of ACTH injected during training only13.

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