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Contexts control negative contrast and restrict the expression of flavor preference conditioning.

Austen, J.M. and Sanderson, D.J. (2016) 'Contexts control negative contrast and restrict the expression of flavor preference conditioning.', Journal of experimental psychology : animal learning and cognition., 42 . pp. 95-105.


Consumption of a high concentration of sucrose can have either a detrimental, negative contrast effect or a facilitatory, preference conditioning effect on subsequent consumption of a low concentration of sucrose, depending on the cues that are present during consumption. The role of context and flavor cues in determining these effects were studied using analysis of the microstructure of licking in mice. Exposure to a high concentration followed by exposure to a low concentration resulted in a transient reduction in mean lick cluster size, which was context dependent (Experiment 1). However, there was no change in the total number of licks or overall consumption. When a flavor that had previously been paired with a high concentration was paired with a low concentration, there was an increase in the total number of licks, and overall consumption, but no change in the mean lick cluster size (Experiment 2). Pairing a high concentration with a flavor in a particular context before pairing the context and flavor compound with a low concentration resulted in abolishing the expression of the flavor preference conditioning effect on the total number of licks and consumption (Experiment 3). These results demonstrate that although context and flavor cues have dissociable effects on licking behavior, their interaction has an antagonistic effect on the behavioral expression of memory

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Learning, Memory, Conditioning, Feeding, Mice.
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Publisher statement:This article has been published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Copyright for this article is retained by the author(s).
Date accepted:17 October 2015
Date deposited:09 November 2015
Date of first online publication:01 January 2016
Date first made open access:No date available

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