Ingestional aversion learning in preweanling rats

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In 4 experiments, ingestional aversions were conditioned in 12- and 15-day-old Sprague-Dawley rats by infusing a .5% solution of saccharin into the oral cavity and following this oral infusion by the injection of lithium chloride. At both ages, Ss for which the saccharin exposure was followed by lithium injection within 2–3 min drank less when the saccharin solution was again presented by oral infusion 12 hrs later; such suppressions of intake were not observed in Ss that previously received the saccharin and lithium in an unpaired fashion (Exps I and III). Ingestional aversions were also learned by 12-day-olds when a 30-min interval was introduced between saccharin exposure and lithium toxicosis but not when toxicosis was delayed by 120 min (Exp II). In contrast, 15-day-olds learned aversions with both the 30- and 120-min-delay intervals (Exp III). Despite the absence of long-delay learning in 12-day-olds, ingestional aversions conditioned at 12 days of age were retained for 2 wks (Exp IV). Results provide further evidence of the associative abilities of neonatal rats and illustrate a developmental aspect of long-delay learning. (34 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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