Temporal and qualitative dynamics of conditioned taste aversion processing: combined generalization testing and licking microstructure analysis

Behav Neurosci. 2005 Aug;119(4):983-1003. doi: 10.1037/0735-7044.119.4.983.


The pattern of licking microstructure during various phases of a conditioned taste aversion (CTA) was evaluated. In Experiment 1, rats ingested lithium chloride (LiCl) for 3 trials and were then offered sodium chloride (NaCl) or sucrose on 3 trials. A CTA to LiCl developed and generalized to NaCl but not to sucrose. CTA intake suppression was characterized by reductions in burst size, average ingestion rate, and intraburst lick rate, and increases in brief pauses and burst counts. Compared with previous studies, LiCl licking shifted from a pattern initially matching that for normally accepted NaCl to one matching licking for normally avoided quinine hydrochloride by the end of the 1st acquisition trial. In Experiment 2, a novel paradigm was developed to show that rats expressed CTA generalization within 9 min of their first LiCl access. These results suggest that licking microstructure analysis can be used to assay changes in hedonic evaluation caused by treatments that produce aversive states.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Avoidance Learning / drug effects
  • Avoidance Learning / physiology*
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Conditioning, Psychological / drug effects
  • Conditioning, Psychological / physiology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drinking / drug effects
  • Drinking / physiology
  • Drinking Behavior / drug effects
  • Drinking Behavior / physiology*
  • Generalization, Psychological / drug effects
  • Generalization, Psychological / physiology*
  • Lithium Chloride / administration & dosage
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Sodium Chloride / administration & dosage
  • Sucrose / administration & dosage
  • Taste*
  • Time Factors


  • Sodium Chloride
  • Sucrose
  • Lithium Chloride