In that area of research which seeks to understand psychotropic drugs (especially tranquilizers) by utilizing animal behavior as a dependent variable, the scope of inquiry has been somewhat limited. Although there have been studies in which the subject is supposed to acquire a new response (e. g., avoiding a certain part of the apparatus), or in which he is allowed to perform a previously acquired response (e. g., lever pressing), a drug effect is usually not attributed to an influence on intellectual processes. Interest has focused on motivation and emotion, principally forms of motivation and emotion that are engendered by electric shock; and little attention has been directed to basic learning mechanisms. Another characteristic of this research area is the use of doses which if translated into the realm of human psychopharmacology would be considered massive.
Conditions which have fostered the tendencies just described are (1) the
LEARY RW, STYNES AJ. Tranquilizer Effects in the Social Status, Motivation, and Learning of Monkeys. AMA Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1959;1(5):499–505. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1959.03590050067008
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