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Q J Exp Psychol B. 2003 Feb;56(1):140-60.

Palatability shifts in taste and flavour preference conditioning.

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  • 1Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.


Changes in palatability of tastes and flavours as a result of flavour preference conditioning were examined. In Experiment 1, when tastes were paired with glucose in a reverse-order differential conditioning paradigm, rats acquired conditioned preferences for CS(+) and displayed more hedonic responses to CS(+) than to CS(-) in a postconditioning taste reactivity test. In Experiment 2, rats that received oral infusions of flavours as CSs during a reverse-order conditioning procedure expressed both palatability shifts and conditioned preferences for CS(+). Rats that received a forward conditioning procedure acquired a preference for CS(+), but the palatability of CS(+) was unchanged. In Experiment 3, hungry rats drank mixtures of a flavour CS and a calorific or sweet tasting reinforcer in a long-exposure conditioning paradigm. When tested hungry, rats preferred CS(+) whether they had acquired flavour-calorie or flavour-taste associations. However, CS(+) became more palatable only for rats that acquired flavour-calorie associations. These results suggest that acquisition of flavour preferences, as measured by 2-bottle tests, may not always be accompanied by enhanced palatability.

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