Conditioned Taste Aversion: Neural and Behavioral Processes

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Conditioned taste aversion is arguably the most important learning process that humans and animals possess because it prevents the repeated self-administration of toxic food. It has not only profoundly influenced the content and direction of learning theory, but also has important human nutritional and clinical significance. In addition to its direct relevance to food selection, dietary habits, and eating disorders, it is significant for certain clinical populations that develop it as a consequence of their treatment. The study of conditioned taste aversions has invigorated new theory and research on drug conditioning and addictions, as well as on conditioned immunity. There has also been a substantial amount of recent research exploring the neural substrates of conditioned taste aversion—its neuroanatomy, pharmacology, and role in the molecular and cellular basis of plasticity.

This book provides a definitive perspective on the current state of research, theory, and clinical applications for conditioned taste aversion effects and methodology. In each chapter, a leading scholar in the field presents a broad range of studies, along with current findings on the topic, highlighting both the major theoretical landmarks and the significant new perspectives. It will be an important resource for both professional and student researchers, who study conditioning, learning, plasticity, eating disorders, and dietary and ingestive behaviors in neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, clinical psychology, psychopharmacology, and medicine.

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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Christopher J Graver, PhD, ABPP-CN(Madigan Healthcare System)
Description: While conditioned taste aversion may seem a rather narrow topic, it has far-reaching clinical and research implications for areas ranging from dieting and eating disorders to conditioned immunity to understanding learning processes. This book provides a perspective on this core field.
Purpose: This is intended as a definitive resource on conditioned taste aversion.
Audience: According to the editors, a wide range of researchers and students in the fields of "learning, plasticity, eating disorders, and dietary and ingestive behaviors" will find this of interest. This includes the neurosciences, medicine, clinical and cognitive psychology, and developmental disciplines. An international cast of researchers in this field provides cutting-edge information.
Features: The topics are geared toward readers who already have some knowledge of the cognitive neurosciences and research paradigms associated with the field. There is also a heavy dose of behaviorism, so readers are expected to understand the terminology. In general, the book is dense with information and relevant studies. Chapters delve deeply into the topic, sometimes ignoring the need to define the overlying concepts before doing so. There are figures to help illustrate findings, but the captions are not always as descriptive as they could be. Whereas there is a section on the neural basis of this phenomenon, studies with functional neuroimaging are conspicuously absent. The weakest section of the book is the discussion of clinical implications. There is really very little in terms of clinical interventions suggested or research to support these interventions. Additionally, some authors' knowledge about psychotherapy is rather limited and this detracts from the quality of the chapters. The index is helpful and the references are reasonably up to date.
Assessment: The science on conditioned taste aversion in this book is detailed and expansive. It can be dense reading and presumes a moderately high level of fundamental knowledge in cognitive neuroscience and behavioral concepts. It is probably worthwhile for those readers enthralled with the topic and interested in animal research, but leaves something to be desired in terms of clinical applications with humans.
From the Publisher
"The science on conditioned taste aversion in this book is detailed and expansive...[W] orthwhile for those readers enthralled with the topic and interested in animal research."—Doody's Health Sciences Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195326581
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 10/14/2008
  • Pages: 592
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Steve Reilly obtained his D.Phil. from the University of York, England, for research concerning the neural basis of learning and memory. He has held positions in Canada and the USA (Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine) and since 1996, has been in the Department of Psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His research focuses on the neural mechanisms and functional neuroanatomy of conditioned taste aversion learning and incentive learning. Dr. Reilly is currently on the editorial boards of the International Journal of Comparative Psychology and Behavioral Neuroscience.

Todd R. Schachtman received his Ph.D. from SUNY-Binghamton conducting research in animal learning and conditioning. During three years of postdoctoral fellowship, Dr. Schachtman was at the University of York in England as well as at the University of Rochester Medical Center. He has been a faculty member at the University of Missouri since 1988. His research includes work in animal learning and conditioning using CTA procedure, and research on the role of metabotropic glutamate receptors in CTA, inhibitory avoidance, and other behaviors.

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