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Cognitive Neuroscience & Drug Addiction: Primed for Interaction?

A Symposium at the Cognitive Neuroscience Society Meeting
San Fransisco, CA
April 9-11, 2000


Chair
Steven Grant, Ph.D.,
Clinical Neurobiology Branch, Div. Treatment Research and Development, NIDA

Symposium Program
From Experimental Animals To Human Drug Abusers In The Neuropsychopharmacology Of Addiction.
Trevor W Robbins, Dept of Experimental Psychology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

Using fMRI To Dissect Human Reward Function Into Its Cognitive Subprocesses.
Hans Breiter, Dept. of Radiology, MGH-NRM Center, Charlestown, Mass.

The Role of Prefrontal Cortex, Anterior Cingulate and Locus Coeruleus in Cognitive Control and the Regulation of Behavior.
Jonathan D. Cohen, Center for the Study of Brain, Mind and Behavior Princeton University, Princeton, NJ

Hot/Cool Framework of Cognition and Emotion: Application to Drug Addiction.
Janet A. Metcalfe, Dept. of Psychology, Columbia University, New York, New York

Summary

The goal of this symposium was to stimulate collaborative interactions between the fields of cognitive neuroscience and drug abuse; two areas with high potential for cross-fertilization. The program included drug abuse investigators (T. Robbins and H. Breiter) who have started using cognitive approaches, and cognitive neuroscientists whose work is relevant to problems in drug addiction (J. Cohen and J. Metcalfe). Dr. Robbins discussed how animal studies could be translated to investigations of cognitive processes in human addicts. Dr. Breiter will described the information processing roles of brain regions in humans activated by drug- and non-drug rewards. Dr. Cohen presented a novel theory of self-regulation based on neuroimaging data and neural network modeling that incorporates neurochemical factors. Finally, Dr. Metcalfe presented a theoretical framework for understanding the neuronal basis of delay of gratification based on interaction of a cool cognitive "know" system and a hot emotional "go" system.

Summary of Presentations

From Experimental Animals To Human Drug Abusers In The Neuropsychopharmacology Of Addiction.
Trevor W Robbins, Dept of Experimental Psychology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

The complex factors influencing drug addiction and its treatment require that new hypotheses be based on a systems and cognitive neuroscience framework integrating animal and human studies. Environmental stimuli associated with effects of drugs are now well-known to control drug-seeking behavior in both animals and humans. Such behavior depends on the integrity of a neural system including the amygdala and ventral striatum, as well as the frontal cortex. The drive to drug abuse may also be consolidated by impulsive, risk taking tendencies which result from brain changes induced by chronic drug administration. Evidence will be presented of the effect of drugs on decision-making and impulsivity, in both human drug abusers and rats, combined with changes in the orbitofrontal cortex. Together, these data are beginning to indicate a neural network that malfunctions as a consequence of chronic drug-taking, including the prefrontal cortex, as well as the amygdalo-striatal system.

Using fMRI to Dissect Human Reward Function into its Cognitive Subprocesses.
Hans Breiter, Dept. of Radiology, MGH-NRM Center, Charlestown, Mass.

The behaviorist emphasis on reward and reinforcement that has dominated research on drug abuse largely neglects the information processing and representational aspects of reinforcement processes. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies have recently begun to localize specific subcortical and paralimbic networks related to potential reward-related information processing. These regions include the amygdala, sublentiuclar extended amygdala (SLEA) of the basal forebrain, and nucleus accumbens/subcallosal cortex (NAc/SCC), the anterior cingulate and insula. In this presentation studies of fMRI activation of these processing two human cocaine infusion studies, one monetary reward experiment, one thermal reward experiment, and will be used to develop novel hypothesis emphasizing the cognitive and information processing roles of these regions. One hypothesis is that activation in the NAc/SCC is the evaluation of goal-object incidence data for the computation of conditional probabilities regarding goal-object availability. These studies provide a framework for integrating cognition and motivation at the neuronal level.

The Role of Prefrontal Cortex, Anterior Cingulate and Locus Coeruleus in Cognitive Control and the Regulation of Behavior.
Jonathan D. Cohen, Center for the Study of Brain, Mind and Behavior Princeton University, Princeton, NJ

The ability monitor oneีs own performance and adjust it according to feedback as to behavioral outcome lies at the heart of the highest levels of human cognition, such as problem solving and complex decision making. This process involves many levels of processing, from simple environmental cues, to internal influences such as the motivational value of the outcome being sought, and emotional responses to the current level of performance. Drugs of abuse may have a direct influence on the neuronal networks that underlie self-regulation. Functional neuroimaging and network modeling studies will be used to develop a novel theory regarding the neural mechanisms underlying self-regulation of behavior and its modulation by neurotransmitters. This theory postulates that the Anterior Cingulate (and its dopaminergic inputs) monitors the state of processing whereas the noradrenergic inputs to the prefrontal cortex modulate the balance between continued investment in the current behavior and sampling of other task sets.

Hot/Cool Framework of Cognition and Emotion: Application to Drug Addiction.
Janet A. Metcalfe, Dept. of Psychology, Columbia University, New York, New York

A framework for understanding the interaction of cognition and emotion that postulates two closely linked systems: a cool cognitive 'know' system, and a hot emotional 'go' system, is elaborated in relation to drug craving and abstinence. The cool system is cognitive, emotionally neutral, contemplative, flexible, integrated, coherent, spatio-temporal, slow, episodic, and strategic. It is the seat of self-regulation and control. The hot system is the basis of emotionality, fears as well as passions-- impulsive and reflexive-- initially controlled by innate releasing stimuli, and fundamental for emotional (classical) conditioning. The balance between the hot and cool systems is determined by stress, developmental level, and the individual's ideational and self-regulatory dynamics. The interactions between these systems have previously accounted for some aspects of human willpower, and are here related to addiction and ability to maintain abstinence from drugs.

Participants
Chairperson
Steven Grant, Ph.D.
Cognitive Neuroscience of Addiction Program
Etiology and Clinical Neurobiology Branch
Div. Clinical and Services Research
National Institute on Drug Abuse
Room 4-4238
6001 Executive Blvd
Bethesda, MD 20892
Phone: 301 443-4877 (voice) 443-6814 (fax)
E-mail: sgrant@intra.nida.nih.gov

Trevor W. Robbins, Ph.D.
Dept of Experimental Psychology
University of Cambridge
Cambridge, UK
E-mail: twr2@cus.cam.ac.uk

Hans Breiter, M.D.
MGH-NMR Center
Dept. of Radiology
Massachusetts General Hospital
Building 149, 13th St.
Mail Code 149 (2301)
Charlestown, Massacheusetts 02129-2060
Email: hansb@nmr.mgh.harvard.edu

Jonathan D. Cohen, M.D., Ph.D.
Director, Center for the Study of Brain, Mind and Behavior
Dept of Psychology
Princeton University
Green Hall
Department of Psychology
Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08544
E-mail: jdc@Princeton.edu

Janet A. Metcalfe, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology
Columbia University
401B Schermerhorn Hall
New York, New York 10027.
E-mail: metcalfe@paradox.psych.columbia.edu



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