BURYING BY RATS IN RESPONSE TO AVERSIVE AND NONAVERSIVE STIMULI

Alan Poling, James Cleary, Michael Monaghan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations

Abstract

Previous investigations have shown that rats bury a variety of conditioned and unconditioned aversive stimuli. Such burying has been considered as a species‐typical defensive reaction. In the present studies, rats buried spouts filled with Tabasco sauce, or condensed milk to which a taste aversion was conditioned, but did not bury water‐filled spouts or spouts filled with a palatable novel food (apple juice) to which a taste aversion was not conditioned. However, in other experiments rats consistently and repeatedly buried Purina Rat Chow, Purina Rat Chow coated with quinine, and glass marbles. This indicates that a variety of stimuli, not all aversive or novel, evoke burying by rats. Whereas the behavior may reasonably be considered as a species‐typical defensive behavior in some situations, the wide range of conditions that occasion burying suggests that the behavior has no single biological function. 1981 Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-44
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior
Volume35
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1981

Keywords

  • burying
  • novelty
  • noxious foods
  • rats
  • species‐typical defensive reaction
  • taste aversion conditioning

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