Taste Aversion through Classical Conditioning Essay

Decent Essays

Taste Aversion through Classical Conditioning

Classical conditioning states that learning is a gradual process, that it is not possible for a subject to be classically condition in only one trial. However, if you eat something and become sick from it, there is a very good probability that you will develop a strong distaste for that food. This effect is known as taste aversion, which has brought up many questions about classical conditioning.
It was Garcia and Koelling (1966) who studied the level of conditioning in rats using two conditioned stimulus (CS), an audiovisual stimulus and a salty flavor added to drinking water. The two unconditioned stimulus (UCS), a mild foot-shock and a nausea-producing drug. In the conditioning …show more content…

It is seen that the rats promptly learned to associate a taste CS with a UCS of nausea but not with the foot-shock, where the audiovisual CS was conditioned to the foot-shock but not to nausea (Walker 1995).
Taste aversion has violated three principles of classical conditioning, the first is that equal associability of stimuli: any CS can be paired with any UCS. This has proven to be untrue because if it were, the rats that became sick would have avoided both the salty water CS and the audiovisual CS. The second principle violated is temporal contiguity: CS and UCS have to be presented close together in time. Again untrue in this case because of such a long delay between drinking the salty water and becoming sick. The third and final principle is that learning is gradual, but in this case only one trial was enough.
The studies done by Garcia and Koelling have had much support from many other experiments done in similar or the same situations. A study of ingestional aversion (Gregg, Melanie, Kittrell, Domjan & Amsel, 1978), where 12 and 15 day-old rats were conditioned by infusing a .5% solution of saccharin into the oral cavity. This was then followed by an oral infusion by the injection of lithium chloride. At both ages, subjects that had saccharin exposure was followed by a lithium injection within 2 to 3 minutes drank less when the

Get Access