3) Describe the process of how conditioned taste aversions are developed, and how principles
3) Describe the process of how conditioned taste aversions are developed, and how principles of learning and reinforcement are being used to avoid these aversions in cancer patients.
Answer: Conditioned taste aversion refers to the fact that classical conditioning can lead us to develop avoidance reactions to the taste of food. In contrast to most classically conditioned reactions, which require repeated pairings between CS and UCS, conditioned taste aversions typically require only one trial to develop. Conditioned taste aversions tend to be remarkably specific and display little evidence of stimulus generalization.
Conditioned taste aversions are a particular problem among cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, which frequently induces nausea and vomiting. As a result, they often develop an aversion to any food that preceded chemotherapy, even though they realize it bears no logical connection to the treatment. Fortunately, health psychologists (see Chapter 12) have developed a clever way around this problem. Capitalizing on the specificity of conditioned taste aversions, they ask cancer patients to eat an unfamiliar scapegoat food—a novel food of which they aren’t fond—prior to chemotherapy. In general, the taste aversion becomes conditioned to the scapegoat food rather than to patients’ preferred foods (Andresen, Birch, & Johnson, 1990).
Question ID: Lil 2ce 6.5-3
Page Ref: 240-241
Topic: Conditioned Taste Aversions