Conditioned Flavor Aversion in Rats Selectively Bred for High and Low Saccharin Intake


Jocelyn Richard

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Conditioned aversion develops when an odor, taste, or flavor (odor+taste) is paired with nausea. When a long interval separates odor and nausea, the odor must be paired with a taste for an odor aversion to develop (taste potentiation). Individual differences can affect both flavor aversion and taste potentiation; for example, the highly anxious Syracuse Low Avoidance rats show stronger conditioned aversion and potentiation than do their High Avoidance counterparts (von Kluge & Brush, 1992). The Occidental College High-Saccharin (HiS) and Low-Saccharin (LoS) consuming rats, which also differ in emotional reactivity, were given an almond-polycose flavor solution and injected with saline or nausea-inducing lithium chloride. They were subsequently tested with the flavor and the taste and odor elements. Conditioned aversion was fairly equal for both lines in the flavor (almond-polycose) test. In the single element tests, however, the LoS LiCl group tended to drink less than saline controls whereas the HiS LiCl and saline groups did not differ. Whether this line difference reflects differing rates of extinction, functional differences in the aversion to the elements individually, or other differences in the nature of the conditioned aversions in LoS and HiS rats remains to be seen.


Nancy Dess




Howard Hughes Medical Institute Undergraduate Science Education Grant

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