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Taste Aversion Learning

  1. Bruce A. Kimball

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0976

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Kimball, B. A. 2010. Taste Aversion Learning. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. USDA/APHIS/NWRC and Monell Chemical Senses Center, Philadelphia

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Learned avoidance of a specific food resulting from negative postingestive consequences is known as taste aversion learning (TAL) or flavor aversion learning. Although TAL causes avoidance behavior, taste aversion is a unique category of avoidance. Taste aversions arise specifically from exposure to stimuli that produce nausea and a qualitative shift in palatability (Pelchat, Grill, Rozin, & Jacobs, 1983). Taste aversions are the product of a hard-wired system connecting the nose and mouth, gastrointestinal tract, and brain that allows animals to learn about toxic foods and limit intake (Provenza, 1995). Subsequent to this affective (subconscious) process, taste is further integrated with other sensory attributes of the food, such as color, odor, or texture. Such cognitive associations are said to be potentiated by taste because aversions are formed to the taste cue first. Together, these affective and cognitive processes yield an adaptive system that enables animals to learn which foods are safe to eat and which are not.


  • affective;
  • behavior by consequences;
  • diet selection;
  • flavor;
  • learning