Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in the Journal of Neural Transmission (2008) 115: 773-776. Copyright 2007, Springer Verlag. Used by permission. doi 10.1007/s00702-007-0002-7.


This preclinical study examined the psychological processes affected by amphetamine that contribute to human psychosis. Using a novel avoidance conditioning paradigm involving two conditioned stimuli (CS) with varied salience, we found that acute amphetamine (1.5 mg/ kg, i.p.) selectively enhanced avoidance responding to a less salient stimulus, but not to a salient one. These findings suggest that elevated dopaminergic activity selectively enhances the attributions of motivational salience to a less salient stimulus, a process that may bear relevance to the development of human delusional thoughts.