Risky decision-making is associated with impulsive action and sensitivity to first-time nicotine exposure


Excessive risk-taking is common in multiple psychiatric conditions, including substance use disorders. The risky decision-making task (RDT) models addiction-relevant risk-taking in rats by measuring preference for a small food reward vs. a large food reward associated with systematically increasing risk of shock. Here, we examined the relationship between risk-taking in the RDT and multiple addiction-relevant phenotypes. Risk-taking was associated with elevated impulsive action, but not impulsive choice or habit formation. Furthermore, risk-taking predicted locomotor sensitivity to first-time nicotine exposure and resilience to nicotine-evoked anxiety. These data demonstrate that risk preference in the RDT predicts other traits associated with substance use disorder, and may have utility for identification of neurobiological and genetic biomarkers that engender addiction vulnerability.

Publication Title

Behavioural Brain Research