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Behav Neurosci. 1992 Feb;106(1):217-28.

Analysis of the microstructure of the rhythmic tongue movements of rats ingesting maltose and sucrose solutions.

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Department of Psychology, University of Illinois, Chicago 60680.


The interlick interval distribution of rats while ingesting maltose under real and sham feeding conditions and while ingesting seven concentrations of sucrose under real feeding conditions was analyzed. The analysis revealed that the licking behavior of rats is organized into bursts of licking at a high rate. These bursts occurred in clusters that were separated by brief (250-500 ms) interruptions. The clusters were separated by intervals that ranged from 500 ms to many hundreds of seconds. Sham feeding increased the length of the meal by increasing the number but not the size of the clusters. Increasing the concentration of sucrose increased monotonically the size of the clusters but varied the number of clusters as an inverted-V-shaped function. This analysis revealed the details of the central nervous system's control over ingestive behavior.

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