Demonstration of a socially transmitted flavor aversion in rats? Kuan and Colwill (1997) revisited
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In each of three experiments that differed only in procedural detail, observer rats interacted with pairs of conspecific demonstrators, one fed a cocoa-flavored diet (Diet Coc) and the other a cinnamon-flavored diet (Diet Cin). Immediately after both members of a pair of demonstrators had been fed, and 5 min before they interacted with an observer or observers, one of the demonstrators was made ill by intraperitoneal injection with lithium chloride. After interacting with a pair of demonstrators for 15 min, each observer was allowed to choose between Diet Cin and Diet Coc for 22 h. In all three experiments, observer rats consumed as much Diet Cin after interacting simultaneously with both an ill demonstrator that had eaten Diet Cin and a healthy demonstrator that had eaten Diet Coc as after interacting simultaneously with both a healthy demonstrator that had eaten Diet Cin and an ill demonstrator that had eaten Diet Coc. These results raise questions about the generality of Kuan and Colwill's (1997) demonstration of socially transmitted flavor aversions in Norway rats.
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