Impulsivity is defined as “the tendency for rapid, unplanned reactions to stimuli with diminished…

Impulsivity
is defined as “the tendency for rapid, unplanned reactions to stimuli with
diminished regard for the negative consequences of that behavior” (Cottone et
al., 2012, p. 127). This personality construct can be broken down into two
parts: impulsive action (the inability to refrain from action) and impulsive
choice (the preference for an immediate and small reward over a delayed but
large one). Cottone and colleagues studied impulsive choice in rats. First,
they trained the rat to press a bar to receive a sugar water reward (rats love
sweets and will work hard for a sweet
»

Impulsivity
is defined as “the tendency for rapid, unplanned reactions to stimuli with
diminished regard for the negative consequences of that behavior” (Cottone et
al., 2012, p. 127). This personality construct can be broken down into two
parts: impulsive action (the inability to refrain from action) and impulsive
choice (the preference for an immediate and small reward over a delayed but
large one). Cottone and colleagues studied impulsive choice in rats. First,
they trained the rat to press a bar to receive a sugar water reward (rats love
sweets and will work hard for a sweet reinforcement). Then, the rats learned
that if they pressed one lever in the test box, they got a “small” but
immediate reward (a 1.5% glucose solution), but if they pressed the other
lever, they got a much sweeter reward (glucose plus 0.4% saccharine so that it
tasted much sweeter but had the same calorie content as the glucose-only
reward). The “bigger,” sweeter reward was delayed. Researchers measured
impulsivity on a scale that could range from 0.5 (the rat always went for the
immediate reward and never went for the bigger but delayed one) to 21.5 (the
rat always went for the big but delayed reward and never went for the small but
immediate one). Next, they administered a drug that blocks NMDA receptors in
the brain. NMDA receptors are involved in learning and memory, and recent
research has suggested that they are also involved in controlling impulsive
behavior. Table 2.21 shows impulsivity scores similar to the results Cottone et
al. saw.

a.
Predict what Cottone et al. should see if their hypothesis about the role of
NMDA receptors is correct.

b.
What are the independent and dependent variables in this study? Which scale of
measurement (nominal, ordinal, interval, or ratio) are the researchers using to
mea-sure impulsive choice?

c.
Create a grouped frequency distribution and a cumulative relative frequency

distribution
for the baseline and post drug conditions.

d.
What impulsivity score sits at the 50th percentile in each condition?

e.
Describe the results of this study. Does blocking NMDA receptors affect
impulsive choice?

 

»

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