University of Kansas
Jeff's research interests focus broadly on the environmental, genetic, and neurochemical factors involved in the induction and attenuation of impulsive choice (i.e., steep delay discounting) in nonhumans. Within this framework, he is pursuing two lines of research. The first is the experimental manipulation of delay discounting. Steep delay discounting may play a role in the development and maintenance of impulsive decision-making such as gambling and substance abuse. Jeff is examining the effect of training delay tolerance in rats on their subsequent preference for gambling-like schedules of reinforcement, as well as the effects of chronic food competition on subsequent rates of delay discounting and ethanol self-administration. The second line of research examines strain-related differences in delay discounting in rats. Comparisons between Lewis and Fischer 344 rats, widely documented to differ in dopamine (DA) function in the mesolimbic pathway, provide an avenue for the study of neurobiological variables that underlie delay discounting. Consistent with previous findings, Jeff found that Lewis rats discount delayed rewards more steeply than Fischer 344 rats using a steady-state adjusting-amount procedure. This finding further implicates DA function as important in delay discounting.
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