Faculty Advisor

Ryder, Elizabeth F.


Impulsive behavior poses a serious risk to individuals and the therapeutic effects that stimulants have on this behavior have yet to be determined. The present study examined the effects of acute administration of two stimulants, nicotine and methylphenidate, under a Paced Fixed Consecutive Number Schedule of reinforcement on a specific component of impulsivity -- the tendency to prematurely terminate chains of responses. Spontaneously hypertensive (SHR) and Wistar Kyoto (WKY) rats were trained to complete a minimum number of consecutive responses on one lever, before responding on another lever. At high dosages of the individual stimulants, impulsivity increased for the WKY rats, but was relatively constant for the SHR strain. These results suggest that the SHR strain is less sensitive to the neurological effects of both nicotine and methylphenidate.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

January 2004




Biology and Biotechnology

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project


Restricted-WPI community only

Advisor Department

Biology and Biotechnology