Effects of distribution of the drug unconditioned stimulus on taste-aversion learning

  • Domjan M
  • Foster K
  • Gillan D
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Rats injected with lithium chloride after exposure to a taste or olfactory stimulus learn stronger aversions to these cues if the drug is administered in two small injections 35 min apart than if all of the drug is given in a single injection. This facilitation of conditioning produced by distribution of the drug unconditioned stimulus occurs with both low and high lithium doses (Experiments 1 and 2), is more evident in male than in female rats (Experiment 1), and is directly related to the amount of the flavored solution consumed prior to drug treatment (Experiment 4). Increasing the interval between two small drug injections beyond an optimal value results in a progressive loss of the facilitation of conditioning (Experiments 2 and 3), and the optimal drug distribution interval may be shorter for olfactory cues (Experiment 3) than for taste stimuli (Experiments 1 and 2). Control observations (Experiments 5A and 5B) showed that the drug distribution effect is not due to handling or other non-drug factors involved in giving two rather than only one injection. The phenomenon is consistent with recently-proposed models of conditioning and suggests that the differential effectiveness of various drugs in taste aversion conditioning may be related to differences in the time course of the unconditioned drug effects. © 1979.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Classical conditioning
  • Drug conditioning
  • Drug distribution
  • Food selection
  • Lithium
  • Olfaction
  • Taste
  • Taste-aversion learning

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