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Behav Neurosci. 2003 Feb;117(1):113-22.

Stimulus preexposure reduces generalization of conditioned taste aversions between alcohol and non-alcohol flavors in infant rats.

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Facultad de Psicología, Universidad del País Vasco, San Sebastian, Spain.


Results of 3 experiments showed that infant rats (age 13-17 days) generalize conditioned taste aversions between alcohol and non-alcohol tastes such as a mixture of sucrose and quinine, apple cider vinegar, or coffee. Nonreinforced preexposure to those tastes reduced generalized aversions between them. Generalization between alcohol and sucrose-quinine was reduced not only after preexposure to both tastes, but also when only the nonconditioned taste was preexposed, whereas with alcohol and vinegar, both tastes had to be preexposed to obtain that effect. In no case was generalization reduced when only the to-be-conditioned taste was preexposed. Previous experience with alcohol alone, as well as with similar gustatory stimuli, may enhance subjects' ability to differentiate them during infantile stages in rats.

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