Stimulus generalization of conditioned taste aversion in rats

Behav Neural Biol. 1984 May;41(1):41-53. doi: 10.1016/s0163-1047(84)90706-4.


Relatively little information is available regarding the intradimensional stimulus generalization of conditioned taste aversion (CTA). Experiment 1 employed a between-groups generalization test to examine the extent to which conditioned flavor aversion to one sucrose solution generalized to other concentrations of sucrose in adult rats. Evidence of a gradient of aversion was obtained. Because generalization gradients in other tasks have been found to flatten over a retention interval, Experiment 2 investigated the effects of delayed testing (2, 7, or 21 days) upon the slope of the generalization gradient. The generalization gradient flattened at the intervals, suggesting that subjects forgot the specific attributes of the conditioning concentration and avoided generalized stimuli as if they were the original CS. Experiment 3 used a long delay between taste and toxicosis to degrade the associative contingency and found no evidence that the generalization gradients found in the first two experiments could be explained in terms of enhanced neophobia due to poisoning. These findings provide further evidence (cf. A. W. Logue, 1979, Psychological Bulletin, 86, 276-296; M. Domjan, 1980, in J. S. Rosenblatt, R. A. Hinde, C. Beer, & M. Busnel (Eds.), Advances in the study of behavior, Vol. 11, New York: Academic Press) that CTA shares a number of similarities with other learning processes. Further, they illustrate that stimulus forgetting can be detected in a paradigm considered relatively immune to retention loss.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Association Learning / drug effects
  • Avoidance Learning* / drug effects
  • Chlorides / toxicity
  • Conditioning, Classical* / drug effects
  • Cues
  • Drinking / drug effects
  • Generalization, Stimulus* / drug effects
  • Lithium / toxicity
  • Lithium Chloride
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Retention, Psychology / drug effects
  • Taste* / drug effects


  • Chlorides
  • Lithium
  • Lithium Chloride