Acute administration of d-amphetamine decreases impulsivity in healthy volunteers

Neuropsychopharmacology. 2002 Nov;27(5):813-25. doi: 10.1016/S0893-133X(02)00343-3.


This study investigated the acute behavioral effects of d-amphetamine on several behavioral indices of impulsivity. Impulsivity has been defined, variously, as difficulty in inhibiting inappropriate behaviors, inability to wait, insensitivity to delayed consequences or an alteration in the perception of time; standardized procedures have been developed to measure these behavioral dimensions. However, it is not known how drugs affect these measures, and few studies have examined more than one measure in a single study. In this study, 36 healthy men and women participated in three sessions, in which they received placebo, 10 mg, or 20 mg d-amphetamine in randomized order. On each session they performed the following five tasks: the Stop Task, which measures behavioral inhibition, a delay discounting task, which measures the relative value of immediate vs. delayed rewards, a delay of gratification task, a Go/No-Go task, and a time estimation task. Subjects also completed mood questionnaires. Amphetamine produced its expected subjective, mood-altering effects, including increases in POMS Friendliness and Elation scales, and ARCI Euphoria and Stimulant scales. On the measures of impulsivity, amphetamine decreased impulsive responding on three of the tasks: on the Stop Task it decreased Stop reaction times without affecting Go reaction time, on the Go/No-Go task, it decreased the number of false alarms, and on the delay discounting measure, amphetamine (20 mg) decreased k values indicating less discounting of delayed reward. Other measures of impulsive behavior were unaffected. These results suggest that acute doses of amphetamine decrease several forms of impulsive behavior. These findings extend and confirm previous findings in humans and laboratory animals.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Dextroamphetamine / administration & dosage*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior / drug therapy*
  • Impulsive Behavior / psychology
  • Male
  • Reaction Time / drug effects
  • Reaction Time / physiology


  • Dextroamphetamine