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Appetite. 1989 Oct;13(2):105-13.

Conditioned meal initiation in young children.

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  • 1Child Development Laboratory, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.


In two experiments the conditioning of meal initiation was investigated. Preschool children ate snacks repeatedly in the presence of visual and auditory cues (CS+). On other days, other visual and auditory cues (CS-) were presented in the absence of food. In the second experiment, location also served as a CS. To test for conditioned meal initiation, children were first fed a snack to ensure that they were sated. Immediately following this, on different days, food was presented in the presence of the CS+ or the CS- cues. Data on latency to eating and total consumption revealed evidence for conditioning, at least for children who could correctly identify which cues had and had not been paired with the presentation of food.

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