Peter Thomas Morgan MD, PhD

Associate Professor of Psychiatry; Associate Director, Cocaine Research Clinic; Medical Director, Forensic Drug Diversion Clinic; President, Medical and Professional Staff of Connecticut Mental Health Center

Research Interests

Sleep; Cocaine; Learning; Dreaming; Lucid dreams; Consciousness

Current Projects

My recent and current human subject studies have examined sleep and learning in cocaine dependence and the relevance of GABA neurotransmission thereon, and have sought neurophysiological markers of alcohol craving. Experimental tools used include EEG/ERP, polysomnography (PSG), cocaine self-administration, neuroimaging, and a variety of standard and newly developed cognitive tasks including visual, motor, and verbal learning tasks, as well tasks of attention and memory.

Another project examines lucid dreaming and what differentiates lucid dreamers from non-lucid dreamers in terms of brain function. This project is directed at understanding the brain processes that lead to different types of consciousness.

Research Summary

I am interested in the neurophysiology of substance dependence for its own sake and as a window into understanding cognition and behavior. The major focus of my laboratory is the examination of the role of disturbances of sleep and sleep-dependent memory consolidation in chronic substance use and other mental illnesses. My laboratory has found that abstinent male cocaine users suffer from an "occult" insomnia. Although their sleep is objectively poor and they exhibit cognitive disruptions related to this poor sleep, they believe that their sleep is unimpaired.

Recent findings suggest that modafinil, a wakefulness promoting agent, reverses some of the sleep deficits associated with chronic cocaine use.


Selected Publications

  • Morgan PT, Kehne JH, Sprenger KA, Malison RT. Retrograde effects of triazolam and zolpidem on sleep-dependent motor learning in humans. 2009; Journal of Sleep Research (in press).
  • Morgan PT, Paliwal P, Malison RT, Sinha R. Sex differences in sleep and sleep-dependent learning in abstinent cocaine users. 2009; Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior. 93:54-8.
  • Morgan PT, Pace-Schott EF, Sahul ZH, Coric V, Stickgold, R, Malison RT. Sleep architecture, cocaine, and visual learning. Addiction, 2008; 103: 1344-52.
  • Morgan PT, Malison RT. Pilot study of lorazepam and tiagabine effects on sleep, motor learning, and impulsivity in cocaine abstinence. American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 2008; 34:692-702.
  • Morgan PT, Malison RT. Cocaine and sleep: early abstinence. The Scientific World Journal. 2007; 7:223-30.
  • Morgan PT, Malison RT. Cocaine and sleep: early abstinence. The Scientific World Journal. 2007; 7:223-30.
  • Peter T. Morgan, Edward F. Pace-Schott, Zakir H. Sahul, Vladimir Coric, Robert Stickgold, Robert T. Malison. “Sleep, sleep-dependent procedural learning and vigilance in chronic cocaine users: evidence for occult insomnia”, Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 82:238-249, 2006.

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