Does oral experience terminate ingestion?
Using data from studies of ingestive behavior in developing rat pups we demonstrate how oral experience can contribute to the termination of ingestion. In rat pups, repeated oral stimulation with sweet solutions causes a decline in oral responsiveness. The diminished responsiveness is specific to the flavor of the stimulus experienced orally and can persist for several hours. We suggest that this experience-based decrement in responsiveness is best considered "oral habituation" and that oral habituation largely accounts for the onset of satiety. Post-ingestive feedback signals may have their influence through the oral habituation process or act in the context of oral habituation. Oral habituation is also shown to depend on the pattern of stimulus presentation, a phenomenon that adds considerable complexity to assessing the contributions of oral experience to satiety. The concept of oral habituation may be useful in understanding the immediate control of ingestion and the moment-to-moment expression of ingestive behavior in adult animals.
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