Socially acquired nicotine self-administration
Cigarette smoking is a social behavior. We established a novel rat model of socially acquired intravenous nicotine self-administration, where nicotine was delivered concurrently with a flavor cue (i.e., both taste and smell). We found that rats self-administering nicotine alone under this condition developed strong conditioned aversion to nicotine. However, when a demonstrator rat that consumed the same flavor cues was placed in the operant chamber, stable self-administration of nicotine was established. Please see our publications for details. We are studying the role of social learning using behavioral, pharmacological, genetic, and genomic approaches.