Intermittent limited access to an optional source of dietary fat can induce binge-type behavior in rats. However, the ability of such access to alter the reinforcing efficacy of fat has not been clearly demonstrated. In this study, performance under progressive ratio one (PR1) and three (PR3) schedules of shortening (fat) reinforcement was assessed in non-food deprived rats (n=15/group). One group of rats had intermittent access to a dietary fat option (INT, 1-hour shortening access in the home cage each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday), whereas the other group had daily access to the fat option (D, 1-hour shortening access daily). Chow and water were continuously available. After five weeks, the INT group consumed more shortening during the 1-hour access period than did the D group. Rats were then trained to lever press for a solid shortening reinforcer (0.1. gm). INT rats earned significantly more reinforcers than did D rats under PR1, but not under PR3. Subgroups of INT and D rats (n=7 each) were matched on the amount of shortening consumed in the home cage during week five of the protocol and the PR data were reanalyzed. The INT subgroup earned significantly more reinforcers than the D subgroup did under PR1, but not PR3. These results demonstrate that: (1) intermittent access to shortening in the home cage, but not the amount consumed during the access period (i.e. bingeing), increases the reinforcing efficacy of solid shortening; and (2) the type of PR schedule is critical in delineating differences between the groups.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Behavioral Neuroscience