Conditioned taste aversion and motion sickness in cats and squirrel monkeys

Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 1990 Feb;68(2):269-78. doi: 10.1139/y90-041.


The relationship between vomiting and conditioned taste aversion was studied in intact cats and squirrel monkeys and in cats and squirrel monkeys in which the area postrema was ablated by thermal cautery. In cats conditioned 7-12 months after ablation of the area postrema, three successive treatments with xylazine failed to produce either vomiting or conditioned taste aversion to a novel fluid. Intact cats, however, vomited and formed a conditioned aversion. In squirrel monkeys conditioned 6 months after ablation of the area postrema, three treatments with lithium chloride failed to produce conditioned taste aversion. Intact monkeys did condition with these treatments. Neither intact nor ablated monkeys vomited or evidenced other signs of illness when injected with lithium chloride. When the same ablated cats and monkeys were exposed to a form of motion that produced vomiting prior to surgery, conditioned taste aversion was produced and some animals vomited. These findings confirm other studies indicating motion can produce vomiting in animals with the area postrema destroyed and demonstrate that motion-induced conditioned taste aversion can be produced after ablation of the area postrema. The utility of conditioned taste aversion as a measure of subemetic motion sickness is discussed by examining agreement and disagreement between identifications of motion sickness by conditioned taste aversion and vomiting. It is suggested that a convincing demonstration of the utility of conditioned taste aversion as a measure of nausea requires the identification of physiological correlates of nausea, and caution should be exercised when attempting to interpret conditioned taste aversion as a measure of nausea.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Avoidance Learning / physiology*
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / physiology
  • Cats
  • Cerebral Ventricles / anatomy & histology
  • Cerebral Ventricles / physiology
  • Female
  • Lithium / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Medulla Oblongata / anatomy & histology
  • Medulla Oblongata / physiology
  • Motion Sickness / physiopathology*
  • Saimiri
  • Species Specificity
  • Taste / physiology*
  • Vomiting / physiopathology*


  • Lithium