Pre-exposure schedule effects on generalization of taste aversion and palatability for thirsty and not thirsty rats
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The study reported four experiments aiming to test the effects of the pre-exposure schedule and water deprivation on the generalization of a conditioned taste aversion in rats, with a particular focus on testing whether or not the concurrent schedule might enhance generalization. In two experiments, non-water-deprived rats received concurrent, intermixed, or blocked exposure to a sweet-acid solution and a salty-acid solution before conditioning of one of these compounds and testing of both flavors. During pre-exposure, the rats consumed a greater amount of the sweet-acid solution than the salty-acid solution (Experiments 1 and 2), consumption of the former increasing during pre-exposure while consumption of the latter decreased (Experiment 1). Furthermore, consumption of the salty-acid solution was lower during concurrent than intermixed or blocked pre-exposure (Experiment 1 and 2) while consumption of the sweet-acid solution was greater during intermixed than concurrent or blocked pre-exposure (Experiment 1). It is discussed whether the pre-exposure schedule might modify stimulus perception beyond the mere enhancement of stimulus differentiation, by, for instance, affecting the palatability of gustatory stimuli. Evidence for enhanced generalization after concurrent pre-exposure was not found for either deprived (Experiments 1, 2, and 3) or non-deprived rats (Experiments 3 and 4), with deprivation leading to a general increase in consumption of both the conditioned and test flavors. This then raised the question of whether or not concurrent pre-exposure to flavors always increases generalization between them. The present study highlights the importance of this issue for various accounts of perceptual learning. © 2018 Angulo.
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