Attenuation of ethanol tolerance by a novel stimulus
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A Pavlovian conditioning model of tolerance emphasizes that an association between predrug cues and the systemic effects of the drug contributes to tolerance. On the basis of this model, established tolerance should be attenuated by "external inhibition," i.e., by presentation of a novel, extraneous stimulus. This prediction was evaluated in the present experiment. Rats that were so tolerant to the hypothermic effect of ethanol that they evidenced no drug-induced decrease in temperature were presented with a bright strobe light following ethanol administration. The light precipitated a large decrease in temperature in these rats. These results provide further evidence that tolerance to the hypothermic effect of ethanol is, in part, mediated by learning.