Foot shock facilitates reward seeking in an experience-dependent manner.

Affiliation

Strickland JA(1), Dileo AD(2), Moaddab M(3), Ray MH(3), Walker RA(3), Wright KM(3), McDannald MA(4).
Author information:
(1)Boston College, Department of Psychology & Neuroscience, Chestnut Hill, MA, USA. Electronic address: [Email]
(2)Tufts University School of Medicine, School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences, Boston, MA, USA.
(3)Boston College, Department of Psychology & Neuroscience, Chestnut Hill, MA, USA.
(4)Boston College, Department of Psychology & Neuroscience, Chestnut Hill, MA, USA. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

Animals organize reward seeking around aversive events. An abundance of research shows that foot shock, as well as a shock-associated cue, can elicit freezing and suppress reward seeking. Yet, there is evidence that experience can flip the effect of foot shock to facilitate reward seeking. Here we examined cue suppression, foot shock suppression and foot shock facilitation of reward seeking in a single behavioural setting. Male Long Evans rats received fear discrimination consisting of danger, uncertainty, and safety cues. Discrimination took place over a baseline of rewarded nose poking. With limited experience (1-2 sessions), all cues and foot shock suppressed reward seeking. With continued experience (10-16 sessions), suppression became specific to shock-associated cues, foot shock briefly suppressed, then facilitated reward seeking. Our results provide a means of assessing positive properties of foot shock, and may provide insight into maladaptive behaviour around aversive events.