Recreational Activities and d-Amphetamine Effects in High and Low Sensation Seekers

Main Article Content

Thomas H. Kelly Jennifer E. Klebaur Andrea S. Perry Catherine A. Martin Donald R. Lynam Michael T. Bardo


This study examined the behavioral effects of d-amphetamine and recreational activities, alone and in combination, in high and low impulsive sensation seekers. Healthy 18-27 year-old participants, scoring in the upper (N=8) or lower (N=8) third of college students on the impulsive sensation-seeking scale of the Zuckerman-Kuhlman Personality Questionnaire, completed eight test days in which sessions were completed before (i.e., baseline) and 60, 120 and 180 minutes after d-amphetamine (0, 10 mg/70 kg) administration. Between sessions, subjects completed recreational activities (movies, music, reading, videogames) identified as high or low in sensation value. Each of four conditions (low and high sensation value activities combined with placebo and active drug) was administered under double-blind conditions on 2 days according to a randomized-block design. Typical stimulant-like cardiovascular and task performance effects were engendered by d-amphetamine; consistent with previous research, the magnitude of drug effects were greater among high sensation seekers. High sensation value activities engendered independent stimulant-like effects on subject ratings. These results suggest that d-amphetamine and high sensation stimulus materials may activate a common neurobiological substrate, likely the mesolimbic dopamine system, and that individual differences in sensation seeking status play a role in vulnerability to stimulant drug abuse.

Article Details

How to Cite
KELLY, Thomas H. et al. Recreational Activities and d-Amphetamine Effects in High and Low Sensation Seekers. Medical Research Archives, [S.l.], v. 9, n. 8, aug. 2021. ISSN 2375-1924. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 25 june 2024. doi:
Research Articles


1. Zuckerman M, Link K. Construct validity for the sensation-seeking scale. J Consult Clin Psychol. 1968;32(4):420-426.
2. Cloninger CR. A systematic method for clinical description and classification of personality variants. A proposal. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1987;44(6):573-588.
3. Wills TA, Vaccaro D, McNamara G. Novelty seeking, risk taking, and related constructs as predictors of adolescent substance use: An application of Cloninger's theory. Journal of Substance Abuse. 1994;6:1-20.
4. Wills TA, DuHamel K, Vaccaro D. Activity and mood temperament as predictors of adolescent substance use: test of a self-regulation mediation model. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 1995;68:901-916.
5. Gelernter J, Kranzler H, Coccaro E, Siever L, New A, Mulgrew CL. D4 dopamine-receptor (DRD4) alleles and novelty seeking in substance-dependent, personality-disorder, and control subjects. Am J Hum Genet. 1997;61(5):1144-1152.
6. Kosten TA, Ball SA, Rounsaville BJ. A sibling study of sensation seeking and opiate addiction. J Nerv Ment Dis. 1994;182(5):284-289.
7. Mitchell SH. Measures of impulsivity in cigarette smokers and non-smokers. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1999 Oct;146(4):455-464.
8. Schubiner H, Saules KK, Arfken CL, et al. Double-blind placebo-controlled trial of methylphenidate in the treatment of adult ADHD patients with comorbid cocaine dependence. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 2002;10(3):286-294.
9. Bardo MT, Donohew RL, Harrington NG. Psychobiology of novelty seeking and drug seeking behavior. Behavioural Brain Research. 1996;77(1-2):23-43.
10. Piazza PV, Deminière J-M, Le Moal M, Simon H. Factors that predict indivual vulnerability to amphetamine self-administration. Science. 1989;245:1511-1513.
11. Klebaur JE, Bevins RA, Segar TM, Bardo MT. Individual differences in behavioral responses to novelty and amphetamine self-administration in male and female rats. Behav Pharmacol. 2001;12(4):267-275.
12. Pierre PJ, Vezina P. D1 dopamine receptor blockade prevents the facilitation of amphetamine self-administration induced by prior exposure to the drug. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1998;138(2):159-166.
13. Lucas LR, Angulo JA, Le Moal M, McEwen BS, Piazza PV. Neurochemical characterization of individual vulnerability to addictive drugs in rats. Eur J Neurosci. 1998;10(10):3153-3163.
14. Hooks MS, Juncos JL, Justice JB, Jr., et al. Individual locomotor response to novelty predicts selective alterations in D1 and D2 receptors and mRNAs. J Neurosci. 1994;14(10):6144-6152.
15. Saigusa T, Tuinstra T, Koshikawa N, Cools AR. High and low responders to novelty: effects of a catecholamine synthesis inhibitor on novelty-induced changes in behaviour and release of accumbal dopamine. Neuroscience. 1999;88(4):1153-1163.
16. Hooks MS, Colvin AC, Juncos JL, Justice JB, Jr. Individual differences in basal and cocaine-stimulated extracellular dopamine in the nucleus accumbens using quantitative microdialysis. Brain Res. 1992;587(2):306-312.
17. Piazza PV, Rouge-Pont F, Deminiere JM, Kharoubi M, Le Moal M, Simon H. Dopaminergic activity is reduced in the prefrontal cortex and increased in the nucleus accumbens of rats predisposed to develop amphetamine self-administration. Brain Res. 1991;567(1):169-174.
18. Hutchison KE, Wood MD, Swift R. Personality factors moderate subjective and psychophysiological responses to d-amphetamine in humans. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 1999;7(4):493-501.
19. Perkins K, Gerlach D, Broge M, Grobe J, Wilson A. Greater Sensitivity to Subjective Effects of Nocotine in Nonsmokers High in Sensation-Seeking. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology.
20. Perkins KA, Gerlach D, Broge M, Grobe JE, Wilson A. Greater sensitivity to subjective effects of nicotine in nonsmokers high in sensation seeking. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 2000;8(4):462-471.
21. Palmgreen P, Lorch EP, Donohew L, Harrington NG, Dsilva M, Helm D. Reaching at-risk populations in a mass media drug abuse prevention campaign: Sensation seeking as a targeting variable. Drugs and Society. 1995;8:29-45.
22. Rebec GV. Real-time assessments of dopamine function during behavior: single-unit recording, iontophoresis, and fast-scan cyclic voltammetry in awake, unrestrained rats. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 1998;22(1):32-40.
23. Rebec GV, Christensen JR, Guerra C, Bardo MT. Regional and temporal differences in real-time dopamine efflux in the nucleus accumbens during free-choice novelty. Brain Res. 1997;776(1-2):61-67.
24. Jones BC, Hou X, Cook MN. Effect of exposure to novelty on brain monoamines in C57BL/6 and DBA/2 mice. Physiol Behav. 1996;59(2):361-367.
25. Koepp MJ, Gunn RN, Lawrence AD, et al. Evidence for striatal dopamine release during a video game. Nature. 1998 May 21;393(6682):266-268.
26. Mobbs D, Greicius MD, Abdel-Azim E, Menon V, Reiss AL. Humor modulates the mesolimbic reward centers. Neuron. 2003;40(5):1041-1048.
27. Klebaur JE, Phillips SB, Kelly TH, Bardo MT. Exposure to novel environmental stimuli decreases amphetamine self-administration in rats. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 2001;9(4):372-379.
28. Zuckerman M, Kuhlman DM, Camac C. What lies beyond E and N? Factor analyses of scales believed to measure basic dimensions of personality. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 1988;54:96-107.
29. McLellan AT, Kushner H, Metzger D, et al. The fifth edition of the Addiction Severity Index. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. 1992;9:199-213.
30. Selzer ML, Vinokur A, van Rooijen L. A self-administered short Michigan alcoholism screening test (SMAST). Journal of Studies on Alcohol. 1975;36:117-126.
31. Eysenck HJ. The Biological Basis of Personality. Springfield, Ill.: Charles C. Thomas; 1986.
32. Martin WR, Hewett BB, Baker AJ, Haertzen CA. Aspects of the psychopathology and pathophysiology of addiction. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 1977;2:185-202.
33. Derogatis LR, Melisaratos N. The Brief Symptom Inventory: An introductory report. Psychological Medicine. 1983;13:595-605.
34. Beck AT, Beck RW. Screening depressed patients in family practice: A rapid technic. Postgraduate Medicine. 1972:81-85.
35. McNair DM, Lorr M, Droppleman LF. Profile of Mood States (manual). San Diego, CA: Educational and Industrial Testing Services; 1971.
36. Martin WR, Sloan JW, Sapira JD, Jasinski DR. Physiologic, subjective, and behavioral effects of amphetamine, methamphetamine, ephedrine, phenmetrazine, and methylphenidate in man. Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics. 1971;12:245-258.
37. McCubbin JA, Cheung R, Montgomery TB, Bulbulian R, Wilson JF. Aerobic fitness and opioidergic inhibition of cardiovascular stress reactivity. Psychophysiology. 1992;29(6):687-697.
38. McCubbin JA, Surwit RS, Williams RB, Jr. Opioid dysfunction and risk for hypertension: naloxone and blood pressure responses during different types of stress. Psychosom Med. 1988;50(1):8-14.
39. Fischman MW. Cocaine and amphetamine effects on repeated acquisition in humans. Federation Proceedings. 1978;37:618.
40. McLeod DR, Griffiths RR, Bigelow GE, Yingling J. An automated version of the Digit Symbol Substitution Test (DSST). Behavior Research Methods and Instrumentation. 1982;14:463-466.
41. Palmgreen P, Stephenson MT, Everett MW, Baseheart JR, Francies R. Perceived message sensation value (PMSV) and the dimensions and validation of a PMSV scale. Health Commun. 2002;14(4):403-428.
42. Rosnow RL, Rosenthal R. Beginning Behavioral Research: A Conceptual Primer 3ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall; 1999.
43. Fry W, Kelleher RT, Cook L. A mathematical index of performance on fixed-interval schedules of reinforcement. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. 1960;3:193-199.
44. Laties VG, Weiss B. The amphetamine margin in sports. Federation Procedures. 1981;40:2689-2692.
45. Donohew L, Palmgreen P, Duncan J. An activation model of information exposure. Communication Monographs. 1980;47:295-303.
46. Hebb DO. Drives and the CNS (conceptual nervous system). Psychological Reviews. 1955;62:243-254.
47. Zuckerman M. Behavioral Expressions and Biosocial Bases of Sensation Seeking. New York: Cambridge University Press; 1994.
48. Foltin RW, Fischman MW. Methods for the assessment of abuse liability of psychomotor stimulants and anorectic agents in humans. British Journal of Addiction. 1991;86:1633-1640.