Interaction with demonstrator rats changes observer rats' affective responses to flavors.
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The authors examined whether exposing naive rats (observers) to recently fed conspecific demonstrator rats changed the observers' later affective responses to foods their demonstrators ate. In Experiment 1, observers learned an aversion to a flavored fluid, then interacted with demonstrators that had drunk that fluid. These observers, but not those interacting with demonstrators that had drunk water, increased their intake of the averted fluid and exhibited fewer negative responses when the averted fluid was infused into their mouths. Rats in Experiment 2 entered the arm of a T maze known to lead to banana-flavored pellets more frequently after interacting with demonstrators fed banana-flavored pellets than after interacting with demonstrators fed chow-flavored pellets. Results of both experiments indicated that interaction with demonstrator rats changed observer rats' affective responses to flavors.
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