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Temporal Organization of Eating in Low- and High- Saccharin-Consuming Rats

Creative Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license
Abstract

When, where, and how much animals eat are influenced by food scarcity and risk of predation. The present study concerned the mediation of risk-related feeding patterns by emotion. Occidental Lowsaccharin- consuming (LoS) and High-saccharin-consuming (HiS) rats, which differ in both ingestion and emotionality, were studied in three steady-state paradigms: an “open economy” procedure (discrete session cyclic-ratio operant schedule) and two “closed economy” procedures (meal patterning, free feeding with running wheel access). Cyclic-ratio performance showed better defense of stable food intake against variable cost among LoS rats. In closed economies, LoS rats consumed a larger number of smaller meals and showed a more pronounced circadian rhythm in meal initiation and running than HiS rats. Taste finickiness appears to serve as a marker for heightened cross-modal risk reactivity, the expressions of which include tighter behavioral regulation of eating in conditions of scarcity and exaggerated nocturnality.

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