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Dev Psychobiol. 2010 Mar;52(2):109-20. doi: 10.1002/dev.20418.

The effect of taste familiarity on intake and taste reactivity in infant rats.

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  • 1Facultad de Psicología Universidad del País Vasco UPV-EHU Avda de Tolosa, 70 20018 San Sebastian, Spain.


With infant rats, unlike with adults, increased intake of a taste after mere exposure to this stimulus is not consistently found; this has sometimes been interpreted as a failure by the immature subject to recognize tastes as familiar. We studied the effect of preexposure to a tastant, measuring taste reactivity and intake in 14-day-old rats. Familiarity increased hedonic response to sucrose, but also increased aversive response to quinine and ethanol. With the sucrose-quinine compound, familiarity increased both the hedonic and the aversive reaction to the stimulus. In no case was a differential reactivity to water observed. Significant increased intake after familiarization was only found with quinine or the sucrose-quinine compound. Results indicate that in infant rats, and with the present parameters, taste familiarity enhances responsiveness to these stimuli, an effect not always accompanied by detectable changes in intake.

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