Rats learn to like the taste of morphine

Debra Zellner, K. C. Berridge, H. J. Grill, J. W. Ternes

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39 Scopus citations


When rats are forced to drink a morphine solution as their only source of fluid, they eventually reverse their initial preference and drink more morphine than water in a two-bottle preference test. The cause of this shift in preference was examined with the taste reactivity test which involves the analysis of fixed action patterns elicited by taste solutions infused into rats' mouths. Three morphine concentrations and two levels of motivation were studied. A greater percentage of ingestive taste reactivity responses occurred to the oral morphine infusion in morphine-raised rats than in water-raised rats. These data argue against the idea that enhanced morphine ingestion is caused by anticipation of positive consequences. Instead, they support the idea that rats come to 'like' the flavor of the morphine solution; in other words, the palatability evaluation of the morphine changes, possibly through an association between the flavor and the hedonically positive effects of the morphine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)290-300
Number of pages11
JournalBehavioral Neuroscience
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1985


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