Radioactive cocaine..

...and the sexy button. The documentary below should give you a lot to think about and raises many ethical issues associated with research on addictive behaviour. The introduction states:

"On BBC 2 now how can anyone kick the habit be it drink, drugs or smoking. Extraordinary research into constant craving. Includes scenes of drug use and animal experiments"

"Olds and Milner (1954) first identified brain sites where direct electrical stimulation is reinforcing. Laboratory animals will lever press at high rates (> 6,000 times per hour) to obtain brief stimulation pulses to certain brain regions. The reinforcement from direct electrical activation of this reward substrate is more potent than other rewards, such as food or water. The potency of this electrical stimulation is most dramatically illustrated in a classic experiment where the subjects suffered self-imposed starvation when forced to make a choice between obtaining food and water or electrical brain stimulation (Routtenberg & Lindy, 1965). A second distinguishing feature of reward from electrical brain stimulation is the lack of satiation; animals generally respond continuously, taking only brief breaks from lever pressing to obtain the electrical stimulation. These two features (i.e., super-potent reward and lack of satiation) are important characteristics of direct activation of brain reward mechanisms".

You can watch the rest of the documentary

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