Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version

September 1999


Published in Animal Learning & Behavior 27:3 (1999), pp. 358-366. Copyright 1999 Psychonomic Society, Inc. Used by permission.


Rats (Rattus norvegicus) that received a taste cue (saccharin, saline, quinine, or sucrose) paired with a lithium chloride (LiCl) injection displayed a robust decrease in consumption of that taste, relative to controls that had the taste unpaired with LiCl. Consumption of the paired taste increased with each nonreinforced presentation (i.e., extinction). After asymptotic extinction, rats that had had a 0.1% saccharin cue paired with LiCl consumed less of the saccharin solution than did controls. A similar data pattern was observed with a 10% sucrose solution. These results are consistent with the view that some aspect of the excitatory CS–US association remains after extinction. On the other hand, rats that had a bitter (0.005% or 0.001% quinine) or salty (1% or 0.5% saline) solution paired with LiCl drank similar amounts of the fluid as controls after asymptotic extinction treatment. Together, these experiments suggest that a taste that is either sweet or preferred is required in order to demonstrate the chronic decrease in fluid consumption after extinction treatment. The data suggest that the conditioning experience prevents the later development of a preference for the sweet taste, rather than there being a retained aversion that suppresses fluid consumption.