Erik GarciaErik Joseph Garcia

Advisor: Dr. Mary Cain

Description of Research

After getting my feet wet in I/O, and cognitive psychology research, I had an opportunity to conduct research in Behavioral Neuroscience at Nebraska Wesleyan University under Dr. Frank Ferraro. This experience led to my curiosities in neuroscience: drug dependence, animal learning, and individual differences. Broadly, I am interested in understanding why some individuals become drug-dependent, while others use drugs recreationally, and do not develop dependence. Recently, ultrasonic vocalizations (USV) have been used as a dependent measure to understand brain chemistry in the mesolimbic dopamine path. The literature on USV suggests these calls are linked to affective state of the rodent and can be evoked my some drugs of abuse, because many drugs of abuse have their pharmacological effect in the mesolimbic pathway. Further, rodents can be bred to be high and low USV callers, suggesting there could be individual differences in calling between animals. My current research focuses on understanding these USVs as both a predictive and dependent measure in understanding acute and chronic stimulant (nicotine and amphetamine) exposure.


None yet!!

Representative Presentations

Garcia, E. J., Blaesing, S., & Palmatier, M. I. (2012). The effects of acute and chronic nicotine on locomotor activity and ultrasonic vocalizations. Poster presented at the 42nd Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. New Orleans, LA.

Jones, S. A., Garcia, E. J., Jones, B. L., & Palmatier, M. I. Continuous intravenous caffeine infusions dose-dependently increased the motivation to obtain alcohol in rats. Poster presented at the 42nd Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. New Orleans, LA.

Teaching Experiences (GTA)

Research Design Psych 803- Spring 2013

Quantitative Methods Psych 802- Fall 2012

Drugs and Behavior Psych 202- Fall 2012 & 2013

Psychopharmacology Psych 570- Spring 2012


Colorado State University B.S.- Fall 2010

Contact Information


Phone: 720-233-3099

Student Scholarship

Timothy R Donaghue Graduate Scholarship, Kansas State University, 2011 & 2012

Vaughn Scholarship Undergraduate Scholarship, Nebraska Wesleyan University 2006, 2007 & 2010