There is no rest for the weary psychology major at Wabash: on the Friday of finals week this year, junior psychology majors Connor O’Rear ’14 and Jacob Owens ’14 traveled to Chicago to present their summer research projects with Dr. Schmitzer-Torbert.  Their poster was presented in the Psi Chi poster session of the Midwestern Psychological Association’s annual meeting, and was titled: Facilitation of habit-learning by post-training infusion of cocaine into the infralimbic cortex.

Owens and O’Rear at their MPA poster.

Previous work by other Wabash students had shown that addictive drugs, such as cocaine, could bias rats towards the use of habitual behaviors in a lever pressing task, and that damage to the prefrontal cortex could block this effect.  O’Rear and Owens presented the results of their summer internships, in which they tested if directly injecting cocaine into the prefrontal cortex could have the same effect on habit learning (as giving the cocaine to the whole brain through systemic injections).

The research project, including the summer internship positions, was funded by a grant by the National Institute of Drug Abuse to Wabash College.  Funds to support O’Rear and Owen’s travel to Chicago was provided by a grant from Wabash’s Undergraduate Research Celebration Committee.

Other Wabash students who also worked on this research project in summer internships include  include Josh Stowers ’14, and recent grads Steven Apostolidis ’12, Drew Casey ’12, Romeo Amoa ’13, Xumin Sun ’13.