Letter | Published:

Acceptance of novel flavours is increased after early experience of diverse tastes


WE believe that the more an animal experiences diversity of flavours at one time the more it will accept novel flavours later. Thus, rats given several distinctive flavours early in life would be more likely to accept an unfamiliar flavour later than would rats whose early gustatory experiences have been less varied. This hypothesis has had some empirical support in the literature. Kuo1, for example, mentions pilot research suggesting that cats, dogs and mynah birds raised on restricted diets for extended periods avoided new food, while others of their kind reared on varied diets ate novel foods readily. We have now found a similar effect with rats using flavoured solutions rather than solid foods.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Kuo, Z. Y., The Dynamics of Behavior Development: An Epigenetic View (Random House, New York, 1967).

  2. 2

    Winer, B. J., Statistical Principles in Experimental Design (McGraw-Hill, New York, 1971).

  3. 3

    Bronson, G. W., Psychol. Bull., 69, 350–358 (1968).

  4. 4

    Capretta, P. J., and Rawls, L. H., III, J. Comp. Physiol. Psychol., 86, 670–673 (1974).

  5. 5

    Hogan, J. A., in Constraints on Learning (edit. by Hinde, R. A., and Stevenson-Hinde, J.) (Academic, New York, 1973).

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.