Alternating ingestive and aversive consummatory responses suggest a two-dimensional analysis of palatability in rats

Behav Neurosci. 1983 Aug;97(4):563-73. doi: 10.1037//0735-7044.97.4.563.


The hedonic response to a taste is typically regarded to be the product of a central integration of gustatory afferent information, which ends in a single decision about the nature and intensity of the response to be given. This hedonic response is often characterized as a point lying along a single dimension of palatability, stretching from strongly positive to strongly negative. The present analysis of species-specific consummatory responses suggests that the final response is not made on the basis of a single central analysis of taste information but rather is the result of a competition between two separate systems that are activated by tastes. A single oral infusion of a taste solution may elicit rapid alternation between ingestive and aversive consummatory responses. Such alternation is better interpreted as due to a simultaneous activation of two palatability dimensions than as a reflection of neutral palatability. When increases in the magnitude of aversive responses are produced by taste mixtures, there is not necessarily a reciprocal decrease in ingestive responses. This asymmetry supports the hypothesis of independent palatability dimensions.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Avoidance Learning*
  • Drinking*
  • Eating*
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Taste*