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Daniel Alber
AP Stats, Article 1, Cocaine
Failure of Ritanserin to Block Cocaine Cue Reactivity in Humans 1. A double blind study was conducted measuring the effects of ritanserin on cocaine addiction. Both a placebo and ritanserin group were established. Both groups were given cocaine cues while measurements of their heart rate, skin temperature, and skin resistance were taken in two sessions, four weeks apart. Self reports (quantitative scales of qualitative characteristics such as mood, craving intensity, etc.) were also taken in order to determine levels of craving. Ritanserin groups showed a significant difference in decreasing skin temperature and qualitative self reports. However, the results were not solid enough or free of confounding variables to determine that ritanserin is an effective method of reducing cocaine craving.

2. This paper did not significantly change its approach during the course of the study, but did suggest alterations to make in order to produce more accurate results. For example, the study occasionally switched to single blind administration of treatment instead of double blind. Also, the study used a larger error range (α=0.05 instead of 0.01), but stated that had it used a tighter error range, many of its results would have been insignificant. The study suggests varying its cocaine cues, more sessions to assess the effectiveness of the treatments (as opposed to the two in this study), and having more effective administration of cocaine cues (some subjects may have paid less attention at the second session).

3. Independent variables in this study were the treatment (whether ritanserin or placebo). Dependent quantitative variables were heart rate, skin temperature, and skin resistance. There were no clearly qualitative variables, only ordinal. Ordinal dependent variables were POMS scores, scales from 0-10 of high, withdrawal, and carving were taken. Self reports seemed to be mostly ordinal, although specific...
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