There’s An App for That

Appetite vs. Consummation in Operant Responding

I had a vigorous discussion with a colleague yesterday on what constitutes an appetitive phase (App) vs. the consummatory phase (Con) of a behavior. To provide some specific context, the issue was the pharamacological effect of 5HT or DA drugs on taste and feeding behavior, and whether the effects could be experimentally determined to be restricted to acting on the App vs. Con phases. The data in the talk were very nice, and the presentation was excellent: clearly 5HT and DA modulate food intake in different ways, and 5HT appears to be critical in modulating taste perception and palatability rather than motiviaiton to intitiate or maitain a meal. But I took a pedantic interest in the use of App and Con as descriptors — and I think they are mis-applied in the behavior of operant responding.

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Asplanchnia, a lack of visceral sensation

Yesterday a student and I were discussing the logical possibilities for why a transgenic mouse might be unable to acquire a conditioned taste aversion.  At the fundamental level, the mouse might not be able to taste the CS, or alternatively, it might be unable to detect the aversive visceral US.  While the former could be denoted “aguesia”, we couldn’t think of a parallel term for “a lack of visceral sensation”.

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Some Nauseating Questions

A few questions I had going into the International Conference on Nausea and Vomiting organized by Charles Horn and Bill Yates in Pittsburgh.  It was an excellent small conference, and while I did not get all the answers I was looking for, I got plenty of questions (even better than answers!)

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let’s cd twiddle over to Alice’s

On Language Log, there is a discussion of unix and svg terms  used as slang in Thomas Pynchon’s new novel, Bleeding Edge.  The novel is set in the Silicon Alley of early 2001. Two most salient points: “cd ~ home” (read “cd tilde home” or “cd twiddle home” ) as slang for “carry oneself home”, and a reference to SVG Alice Blue (when SVG was officially relased only on 9/4/01, so the reference may be anachronistic).  The whole post by Mark Lieberman and commentators is a excellent example of the convergence of linguistic and computational nerditry that is LanguageLog.

I will have to check out Bleeding Edge. The comparison with Gibson’s uneven future novels will be interesting.