Preexposure to salty and sour taste enhances conditioned taste aversion to novel sucrose

Veronica L. Flores, Anan Moran, Max Bernstein, Donald B. Katz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Conditioned taste aversion (CTA) is an intensively studied single-trial learning paradigm whereby animals are trained to avoid a taste that has been paired with malaise. Many factors influence the strength of aversion learning; prominently studied among these is taste novelty - the fact that preexposure to the taste conditioned stimulus (CS) reduces its associability. The effect of exposure to tastes other than the CS has, in contrast, received little investigation. Here, we exposed rats to sodium chloride (N) and citric acid (C), either before or within a conditioning session involving novel sucrose (S). Presentation of this taste array within the conditioning session weakened the resultant S aversion, as expected. The opposite effect, however, was observed when exposure to the taste array was provided in sessions that preceded conditioning: such experience enhanced the eventual S aversion - a result that was robust to differences in CS delivery method and number of tastes presented in conditioning sessions. This "non-CS preexposure effect" scaled with the number of tastes in the exposure array (experience with more stimuli was more effective than experience with fewer) and with the amount of exposure sessions (three preexposure sessions were more effective than two). Together, our results provide evidence that exposure and experience with the realm of tastes changes an animal's future handling of even novel tastes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-228
Number of pages8
JournalLearning and Memory
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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