Sign-Tracking and the Integrated Reward System

Sign-tracking video 3: Alcohol sipper paired with social interaction.
In this video the retractable alcohol sipper tube is paired with the presentation of an opportunity to engage in social interaction. The alcohol sipper tube is presented for 5 sec just before the raising of a guillotine door for 15 sec. Behind the guillotine door is another Long-Evans hooded rat. The opportunity to socialize with the other rat is provided regardless of what the subject does. Repeated pairings of the alcohol sipper tube with the opportunity to socialize leads to Sign-Tracking. The Sign-Tracking rat approaches the alcohol sipper tube, contacts the alcohol sipper tube, then licks, gnaws and chews the alcohol sipper tube, resulting in drinking the alcohol which is inside the sipper tube. The Sign-Tracking of alcohol drinking is induced by pairing the alcohol sipper tube with the rewarding effects of socializing. For humans, this type of pairing is not unlike the bar scene. For the Long-Evans hooded rat, this procedure induces much more alcohol drinking during each daily Sign-Tracking session than would typically be consumed during each 24 hours of continuous alcohol availability in their home cage. This suggests that the amount of alcohol drinking that is induced by this Sign-Tracking procedure is far in excess of that intended.