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Socially conditioned flavor preferences with fluids: transfer with solid foods, palatability, and testing constraints

Figueroa, Jaime, Gasalla, Patricia, Müller, Maximiliano and Dwyer, Dominic ORCID: 2020. Socially conditioned flavor preferences with fluids: transfer with solid foods, palatability, and testing constraints. Physiology and Behavior 223 , 112976. 10.1016/j.physbeh.2020.112976

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In two experiments, the social influence on choosing between two novel diets was analyzed. In Experiment 1, a group of rats (demonstrators) ingested a novel flavor cue presented in powdered food or in a 4% sucrose solution. Afterwards, demonstrators interacted with a group of observer rats for 30 minutes. Preferences for the cue flavor and another flavor were tested in observers using a two-choice test in the same or in the opposite substrate (solid/liquid) as their demonstrators. When tested with solid foods, observers displayed higher intake of the flavor consumed by the demonstrators, regardless of whether the demonstrators had consumed it as a solid or liquid. However, when observers were tested with solutions, there was no demonstration of the same preference. Experiment 2 focused on solutions, presenting them at test either with the flavor as a water solution alone, or as a solution plus an aerosol presentation. In addition, a single-cue testing procedure was used to allow examination of the palatability (assessed through the analysis of licking behavior) of the test solutions. Under single-cue testing procedures with solutions, observer rats did consume more of the flavors previously consumed by the demonstrator animals, but there was no effect of social learning on the palatability of the test flavors. These results suggest that socially conditioned flavor preferences can be reliably observed with fluid solutions, will transfer between different substrates, and affect consumption to a greater degree than palatability. However, future experiments need to be performed to confirm some of these suggestions.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI)
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0031-9384
Date of Acceptance: 18 May 2020
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2022 10:31

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