Hayton, S.J., Olmstead, M.C., & Dumont, E.C. (2011). Shift in the intrinsic excitability of medial prefrontal cortex neurons following training in impulse control and cued responding tasks. Public Library of Science (PLoS) One, 6, e23885.
Hayton, S.J., Lovett-Barron, M., Dumont, E.C. & Olmstead, M.C. (2010). Target-specific encoding of response inhibition: Increased contribution of AMPA to NMDA receptors at excitatory synapses in the prefrontal cortex. Journal of Neuroscience, 30, 11493-11500.
Olmstead, M.C. (2006). Animal models of drug addiction: Where do we go from here? Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 59, 625-53.
Our work with animal models of addiction and impulsivity is used to test hypotheses regarding the relationship between the two. Iris Balodis directed a complementary line of research, translating this preclinical work to humans. We focused on university students, a population that exhibits high rates of drug use and risky behaviours (related to impulsivity). To date, we have shown that self-reported levels of impulsivity correlate with both recreational drug use and hazardous drinking; the latter is also associated with enhanced conditioning to reward-paired cues. Recently we reported that hormonal responses to stress are blunted by an alcohol placebo, and that initial hormonal reactions to the lab predict later responses to alcohol. On the other hand, contrary to lay assumptions, alcohol intoxication does not increase risky choices in a gambling task or alter reward-related learning. In contrast, stress-responses (both subjective and biochemical) are markedly reduced by alcohol. Moreover, initial hormonal reactions to a laboratory setting predict subsequent responses to alcohol, which may be a biomarker for stress-related responses. The work furthers our understanding of how intoxication leads to impulsive behaviours, such as drinking and driving or unprotected sex. This research has many practical implications because it furthers our understanding of why intoxication leads to dysfunctional behaviours; this information may then be applied to social interventions designed to reduce the incidence of problems associated with alcohol intoxication. The ultimate goal of this work is to identify factors which predict individuals who will develop maladaptive drinking and drug use during their undergraduate years.
Balodis, I.S., Wynne-Edwards, K.E. & Olmstead, M.C. (2011). The stress-response-dampening effect of placebo. Hormones & Behavior, 59, 465-472.
Balodis, I.M., Wynne-Edwards, K.E. & Olmstead, M.C. (2010). The other side of the curve: examining the relationship between pre-stressor physiological responses and stress reactivity. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 35, 1363-1373.
Balodis, I.M. Lockwood, K.L. Magrys, S.A. & Olmstead, M.C. (2010). Preference conditioning in healthy individuals correlates with hazardous drinking. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 34, 1006-1012.
Balodis, I.M., Potenza, M.N. & Olmstead, M.C. (2010). Recreational drug use and impulsivity in a population of Canadian undergraduate drinkers. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 1, 1-7.
Balodis, I.M., Potenza, M.N. & Olmstead, M.C. (2009). Binge drinking in undergraduates: Binge drinking in undergraduates: Relationships with gender, drinking behaviors, impulsivity and the perceived effects of alcohol. Behavioural Pharmacology, 20, 518-526.
Balodis, I.M., Johnsrude, I.S. & Olmstead, M.C. (2007). Intact preference conditioning in acute intoxication despite deficient declarative knowledge and working memory. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 31, 1800-1810.
Balodis, I.M., MacDonald, T.K. & Olmstead, M.C. (2006). Instructional cues modify performance in the Iowa Gambling Task. Brain and Cognition, 60, 109-17.