Immediate and delayed voluntary ethanol effects on motor performance, learning and inhibition in rats

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The effects of prolonged voluntary ethanol consumption on psychomotor performance, operant conditioning and inhibition were examined in adult male Wistar rats. Animals were food deprived and alcohol or control solution was available 1 h/day during 15 days, with free water for the rest of the day. Then, rats were tested in a two-bottle paradigm (solution and water available) for 1 h/day during 19 days, and subjects were tested daily for psychomotor performance and operant conditioning immediately or 6 h after (delayed) the solution access. Psychomotor performance was tested in an 80°-inclined screen. Successive conditioning phases were: free shaping (FS), continuous reinforcement (CRF), operant extinction (EXT), successive discrimination (DIS) and two-stimuli test (TST). Alcohol consumption deteriorated psychomotor performance and improved the animal's ability to learn simple associations between stimuli and responses (free shaping and extinction), in immediate and delayed groups. Finally, alcohol deteriorated behavioral inhibition (DIS and TST) tested immediately after drinking. Taken together, results suggest that prolonged voluntary ethanol intake could induce permanent psychomotor impairment and associative learning facilitation, and also an impairment of the inhibition related to the intoxication state. © 2001 Elsevier Science Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-49
JournalPharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2001


  • Free shaping
  • Inhibition
  • Operant conditioning
  • Psychomotor performance
  • Successive discrimination
  • Two-stimuli test
  • Voluntary prolonged alcohol intake
  • Wistar rats


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