Role of the vagus nerves in neophobia and conditioned-reflex taste aversion

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Abstract

Combination of ingestion of water with discomfort in rats with intact vagus nerves on selection between water and saccharine solution (an unknown taste) produced aversion not to water but to saccharine, with sharp increases in water consumption. In vagotomized rats, this combination led to a significant increase in saccharine consumption with no change in water intake. After extinction of neophobia to saccharine, combination of ingestion of water with rotation induced aversion to water in both groups (this being delayed in vagotomized rats). Vagus nerve signaling activity in selection conditions appears to determine the choice of behavior strategy.

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