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Abstract

Human newborns (birth–6 days) and older infants (14–180 days) were allowed to ingest both urea (0.12–0.24 M) in a mildly sweet diluent and the diluent alone, and multiple measures of responsivity were obtained (relative intake, sucking behavior, and hedonic ratings based on facial expressions and body movements). For newborns, there was no indication of rejection of urea relative to the diluent in measures of intake or sucking behavior; rather, their responses were predominantly controlled by the order of presentation of the two tastes. In contrast, older infants tended to reject all concentrations of urea according to these measures. Hedonic ratings provided an indication of limited rejection of the bitter taste by newborns, but older infants were still found to respond more consistently. These data suggest there is an early developmental change in bitter taste perception © 1992 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.