Document Type

Honors Project

First Advisor

Dr. Brian Kelley

Degree Award Date

Spring 2008


Cocaine, Affect, Activity, Reward, Adolescents, Adults, Mice, Comparison, dose response curve, behavioral measures


Chemical Actions and Uses | Chemicals and Drugs | Medicine and Health Sciences


This purpose of this study was to examine the differences between adolescent and adult mice in response to cocaine across several important behavioral measures and a dose response curve. Cocaine is an extremely strong and reinforcing psychostimulant which is abused by millions of people world-wide. It can be assumed that differences will not be found in less potent stimuli if none are found in the strongest stimulus. This study served to demonstrate the relationship between age, cocaine, and despair using the forced swim test. The results showed that the adolescents displayed an overall increased sensitivity to cocaine's ability to alleviate depression and despair compared to adults. The clinical implications of this study support the notion that pharmacological experimentation as a means to self-medicate aversive mood states during adolescence provides the foundation for lifelong addiction.