Conditioned aversions and their memories in 5-day-old rats during suckling

J Exp Psychol Anim Behav Process. 1986 Jan;12(1):40-7.


Association learning during suckling was investigated. Five-day-old rats equipped with tongue cannulae placed either 2 mm rostral or 4-6 mm caudal to the intermolar eminence received sweet or salty solutions while suckling. This ingestion was followed by lithium chloride toxicosis. Pups with anterior cannulae took in considerably less fluid than control pups when tested 5 or 16 days later. A series of control groups demonstrated that this acquired aversion was associative in nature. Pups with posterior cannulae did not form the association. The failure of 5-day-old rats with posterior cannulae to form associations while suckling is not due to the prevention of conditioning by the act of suckling per se. Rather, the failure rests in the fluid's not reaching anterior taste receptors when injected into the posterior oropharynx, where the nipple normally empties its contents. These findings are discussed in terms of the transfer of information obtained during suckling prior to weaning, to feeding and drinking during and after weaning.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Association Learning / drug effects
  • Avoidance Learning* / drug effects
  • Chlorides / toxicity
  • Conditioning, Classical* / drug effects
  • Drinking / drug effects
  • Lithium / toxicity
  • Lithium Chloride
  • Memory* / drug effects
  • Mental Recall* / drug effects
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Retention, Psychology / drug effects
  • Sucking Behavior* / drug effects
  • Taste* / drug effects


  • Chlorides
  • Lithium
  • Lithium Chloride