Learned contextual cue potentiates eating in rats

Gorica D. Petrovich, Cali A. Ross, Michela Gallagher, Peter C. Holland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


Explicit cues associated with food consumption when hunger prevails will enhance eating when they are subsequently presented under conditions of satiety. Here we examined whether contextual conditioned stimuli (CSs) paired with consumption of food pellets while rats were food-deprived would enhance consumption of this food in rats that were not food-deprived. The conditioning context enhanced rats' consumption of the training food, but it did not change their consumption of the familiar, lab chow. These results show that the contextual CSs, like discrete cues, could modulate food consumption in a CS-potentiated eating paradigm. Furthermore, the data suggest that CS-potentiation of eating does not induce a general motivation to eat, akin to hunger, but instead more likely produces a more specific motivational state, akin to craving.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)362-367
Number of pages6
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Feb 28 2007


  • Appetite
  • Conditioning
  • Context
  • Craving
  • Eating
  • Environment
  • Obesity
  • Overeating

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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