Establishment of a learned preference for a zinc-containing solution by zinc-deficient rats


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Abstract

24 zinc-deficient, male Holtzman albino rats were trained to associate a novel-tasting solution with the partial amelioration of their deficiency. For 4 days, Ss were permitted to drink only a distasteful acetic acid solution containing a small quantity of zinc. When later offered a choice between a solution associated with the deficiency (distilled water) and an acetic acid solution, the Ss strongly preferred the latter. This contrasted sharply with choices of zinc-deficient Ss which had no previous experience with the acid-zinc solution. This group showed a strong aversion to the taste of the acid. Results also show (a) a positive correlation between weight gain during the 4-day education period and preferences for the acid-zinc solution, (b) a unique dietary sampling pattern among deficient Ss with prior exposure to zinc, and (c) a strong resistance to extinction of consumption of the novel acidic solution when zinc had been deleted. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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