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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