Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Experimental Psychology

Department or School/College

Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Allen Szalda-Petree

Commitee Members

Stuart Hall, Jerry Smith


Serotonin, Learning, Aggression, Betta splendens


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms | Biological Psychology | Experimental Analysis of Behavior


While the link between serotonin and the behaviors of aggression and learning has been elucidated, few studies have examined the impact serotonin has on learning for aggressive rewards. In particular, the SSRI fluoxetine has been demonstrated to reduce aggression as well the acquisition of instrumental responding for rewards indicating that this drugs behavioral effect may be related to motivational processes important for learning. To examine the relationship between fluoxetine and motivational process important for learning, two experiments were conducted using Betta splendens, a species well known for their robust aggressive response and drive to engage in aggressive behaviors, to examine the impact of fluoxetine on aggressive behavior and learning for aggressive rewards. Results from these two experiments provide evidence of a possible serotonergic input on dopamine circuits important for motivational processes related to learning.



© Copyright 2015 Benjamin Eisenreich