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Appetite. 2006 May;46(3):280-4. Epub 2006 Apr 19.

Habituation and recovery of salivation and motivated responding for food in children.

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  • 1Division of Behavioral Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, State University of New York at Buffalo, Farber Hall, Room G56, 3435 Main Street, Building 26, Buffalo, NY 142124, USA.


Salivary responses habituate to repeated presentations of food cues, and these responses recover when new food stimuli are presented. Research suggests that within-session changes in motivated responding for food may also habituate, and motivated responding may, therefore, recover when new foods are presented. The purpose of this study was to evaluate similarities in the pattern of salivation and motivated responding for a cheeseburger stimulus in children, followed by either a novel stimulus (French fries) or another cheeseburger trial. The order of the task (salivation or motivation) was counterbalanced over days. Salivation and motivated responding for cheeseburger were reliably reduced over seven trials, and responses recovered after presentation of French fries on trial 8. Random regression models showed a significant relationship between the rate of change in motivated responding and salivation. These results provide additional support for similarities in processes that regulate salivation and motivated responding for food and strengthen support for the hypothesis that changes in motivated responding can be understood by habituation theory.

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