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W. Robert Batsell

In: 21st Century Psychology: A Reference Handbook

Chapter 35: Taste-Aversion Learning

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Taste-Aversion Learning
Taste-aversion learning

In taste-aversion learning, an organism consumes a substance and experiences a nausea-inducing event. When this organism subsequently reencounters the edible substance, it will consume significantly less of it, especially when compared to controls that experienced the edible, but not the illness. Hence, the organism learns a taste aversion. Thus, taste-aversion learning is highly adaptive because it enables the foraging organism to identify potential sources of illness and learn to avoid them in the future. Considering its adaptive value, it is not surprising that evidence of taste-aversion learning has been shown across the entire animal kingdom including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and insects. It is worth noting that the terms flavor-aversion learning and taste-aversion learning are used interchangeably, but technically, these terms ...

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