- We explored the effects of complex, food-identifying signals emitted by demonstrator Long-Evans rats (Rattus norvegicus) on food preferences of their observers. In Experiments 1 and 2, observers identified each of 2 or 3 foods their demonstrators had eaten before interacting with observers. In Experiment 3, individual observers interacted with groups of demonstrators. Some of these demonstrators had eaten one food, some another. Observers then chose between the two foods. The greater the proportion of demonstrators in a group that had eaten a diet, the greater the proportion of that diet the observers ate. In Experiment 4, each observer interacted over several weeks with a series of demonstrators and preferred each of the foods its demonstrators had eaten. In sum, the food preferences of observers were affected by several different types of complex, food-identifying signals like those one might expect rats to encounter outside the laboratory.