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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: 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.