Dissociation of Pavlovian and instrumental incentive learning under dopamine antagonists

Behav Neurosci. 2000 Jun;114(3):468-83. doi: 10.1037//0735-7044.114.3.468.


The administration of the dopamine antagonists, pimozide and alpha-flupenthixol, to rats reduced Pavlovian-instrumental transfer when a conditioned stimulus (CS) that had been paired with a noncontingent food reward was tested on instrumental performance. The administration of the antagonists during Pavlovian conditioning and/or testing abolished the enhancement of instrumental performance by the CS. The effect of both antagonists on instrumental incentive learning was then examined. After training in which the rats performed 2 responses for different food rewards, they consumed 1 type food under the antagonists and the other type under vehicle during reexposure. When instrumental responding was subsequently tested in extinction, performance was unaffected by whether the rats had been reexposed to the training reward under the antagonists. These results suggest that Pavlovian and instrumental incentive learning are not mediated by a common process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Appetitive Behavior / drug effects
  • Association Learning / drug effects
  • Conditioning, Classical / drug effects*
  • Conditioning, Operant / drug effects*
  • Dopamine Antagonists / pharmacology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Flupenthixol / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Motivation*
  • Pimozide / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Reward
  • Transfer, Psychology


  • Dopamine Antagonists
  • Pimozide
  • Flupenthixol