Effect of preconditioning unconditioned stimulus experience on learned taste aversions

Dale S. Cannon, Robert F Berman, Timothy B. Baker, Carol A. Atkinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


Reports results from a taste-aversion study using 25 male Long-Evans rats in which ethanol was the unconditioned stimulus (UCS) and from 6 studies (N = 172) in which lithium chloride (LiCl) was the UCS: (a) Exposure to the UCS prior to conditioning retards subsequent acquisition of learned taste aversions. (b) A single preconditioning UCS exposure is sufficient to attenuate conditioning. (c) The preconditioning UCS exposure must occur within a limited period prior to conditioning to attenuate learning. (d) Repeated conditioning trials will override the effect of prior exposure to the UCS. (e) Tolerance to the UCS is not a necessary condition for the attenuation effect to occur. (f) Pairing the preconditioning UCS with a novel flavor other than the CS does not remove the preexposure effect, although it may reduce its magnitude. (g) The degree of disruption is a positive function of preconditioning UCS dosage and an inverse function of conditioning UCS dosage. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)270-284
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1975
Externally publishedYes


  • lithium, male rats
  • single vs repeated preconditioning UCS exposure, acquisition of learned taste aversion to ethanol &

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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