Rats suppress intake of a saccharin conditioned stimulus (CS) when it is paired with an aversive unconditioned stimulus (US), an appetitive US, or a drug of abuse such as morphine or cocaine. It is unclear, however, whether the reduction in intake induced by these drugs is mediated by their aversive or their rewarding properties. The present set of experiments addressed this question by comparing the suppressive effects of a known aversive US (LiCl), a known reinforcing US (sucrose), and a drug of abuse (cocaine) in two strains of rats (i.e., Lewis and Fischer 344 rats) that differ in their preference for rewarding stimuli. The results show that, although both strains readily acquired a LiCl-induced conditioned taste aversion (CTA), the suppressive effects of sucrose and cocaine were robust in the drug-preferring Lewis rats and absent in the Fischer rats. These data argue against a CTA account and in favor of the reward comparison hypothesis.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Behavioral Neuroscience