Novel taste facilitation of the association of visual cues with toxicosis in rats.
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The present experiments examined the conditions under which rats rapidly learn to avoid ingesting visually distinctive food objects associated with toxicosis. It was found that the presence of a novel taste associated with a visually distinctive food object faciliated acquisition of visual-cue-toxicosis associations. Further experiments failed to support either higher order conditioning or sensory preconditioning models of this phenomenon. The results are discussed in terms of species' differences in the conditions under which attention is directed to visual cues associated with ingesta. The implications of these findings for the existence of visual aposomatisms (warning colors) in naturally occurring toxic species are also examined.
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