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Opposite effects of ethanol on taste and place conditioning in rats

Matías López y Raúl Cantora

Abstract: In two experiments with rats, we tested the positive and negative motivational effects of ethanol using the taste avoidance and place conditioning procedures. In Experiment 1, rats received, on alternate days, pairings of a flavour with 1.0 g/kg ethanol (i.p.) and pairings of a different flavour with saline. During testing, the subjects showed a lower consumption of the ethanol-paired flavour. In Experiment 2, rats were tested for the rewarding effects of ethanol using the place preference procedure. They received injections of ethanol before being placed in a distinctive environment for 30 min. When later given a choice between this location and a novel environment, the rats showed a preference for the environment in which they experienced the drug effects relative to control subjects injected with saline. These results show that alcohol appeared to have both aversive and rewarding effects given that the same dose of drug was able to condition an aversion for a paired flavour but a preference for a paired spatial location.


Keywords: ethanol; conditioning; taste aversion; place preference; rats.


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