The effects of ethanol on avoidance-avoidance conflict behavior in a straight runway were studied in rats with a 2 by 2 design in which shock-escape training and subsequent shock-free conflict tests were administered after the animals had orally ingested either ethanol or sugar water. Rats trained under ethanol escaped shock more slowly and, during the conflict tests, approached the shock regions less closely, started and ran more slowly, and oscillated less than sugar-water-trained controls. However, rats tested under ethanol approached the shock regions more closely, started and ran more rapidly, oscillated more, and reversed direction more than rats tested when sober. No state-dependent interactions were obtained. Some of the results were consistent with a fear-reduction hypothesis, but others supported the assumption that ethanol affected the two avoidance gradients differentially.
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