Reinforcer-specificity of appetitive and consummatory behavior of rats after Pavlovian conditioning with food reinforcers

Ezequiel M. Galarce, Hans S. Crombag, Peter C. Holland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We examined the reinforcer-specificity of Pavlovian conditioning in the control of appetitive and consummatory behaviors in Pavlovian-to-instrumental transfer, cue-potentiated eating, and devaluation procedures. Rats received pairings of one conditioned stimulus with sucrose and another conditioned stimulus with maltodextrin. In Experiment 1, rats were also trained to earn sucrose for one instrumental response and maltodextrin for another. In a transfer test, the Pavlovian cues enhanced the rate of instrumental responding more when the food reinforcer predicted by the instrumental response and the Pavlovian cue were consistent than when they were inconsistent, but both cues enhanced both responses. In Experiment 2, sated rats' consumption of each food was potentiated in the presence of a cue for that food, but not in the presence of a cue for the other food. In Experiment 3, one food was devalued by pairing it with lithium chloride, prior to testing food consumption and food-cup directed behaviors. The food cues selectively controlled food-cup related behaviors, regardless of the presence of the devalued or nondevalued foods in the food cup. Together, these results are consistent with the view that conditioned cues modulate appetitive and consummatory behaviors with increasing levels of specificity. The closer an action comes to ingestion, the more it is controlled by sensory properties conveyed by learned cues. These data are discussed in the context of allostatic regulation of food foraging and intake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-105
Number of pages11
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 16 2007


  • Appetite
  • Conditioning
  • Cue-potentiated feeding
  • Devaluation
  • Food consumption
  • Pavlovian-to-instrumental transfer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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