Title

Licking Microstructure Reveals Rapid Attenuation of Neophobia

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

3-2014

Abstract

Many animals hesitate when initially consuming a novel food and increase their consumption of that food between the first and second sessions of accessua process termed attenuation of neophobia (AN). AN has received attention as a model of learning and memory; it has been suggested that plasticity resulting from an association of the novel tastant with safe outcome results in a change in the neural response to the tastant during the second session, such that consumption increases. Most studies have reported that AN emerges only an hour or more after the end of the first exposure to the tastant, consistent with what is known of learning-related plasticity. But these studies have typically measured consumption, rather than real-time behavior, and thus the possibility exists that a more rapidly developing AN remains to be discovered. Here, we tested this possibility, examining both consumption and individual lick times in a novel variant of a brief-access task (BAT). When quantified in terms of consumption, data from the BAT accorded well with the results of a classic one-bottle taskuboth revealed neophobia/AN specific to higher concentrations (for instance, 28mM) of saccharin. An analysis of licking microstructure, however, additionally revealed a real-time correlate of neophobiauan explicit tendency, similarly specific for 28-mM saccharin, to cut short the initial bout of licks in a single trial (compared with water). This relative hesitancy (i.e., the shortness of the first lick bout to 28-mM saccharin compared with water) that constitutes neophobia not only disappeared between sessions but also gradually declined in magnitude across session 1. These data demonstrate that the BAT accurately measures AN, and that aspects of ANuand the processes underlying familiarizationubegin within minutes of the very first taste.

Comments

© 2014 Oxford University Press. This article was published in Chemical Senses, vol. 39, iss. 3, pg. 203-213 and may be found here.