Food avoidance learning in squirrel monkeys and common marmosets.
Vervet and grivet monkeys were repeatedly tested eating bar- and circle-shaped cookies. One subject was always injected with lithium immediately after eating cookies with the circle shape and learned to avoid the circular cookies while continuing to eat the bar-shaped cookies. Another subject received similar treatment except that lithium injections were always delayed 30 minutes after access to the circle-shaped cookies. She also acquired a discriminative aversion. Aversion learning was not observed with 60-minute delayed toxicosis or with lithium injections administered unpaired with access to the cookies. The two types of cookies differed only in shape, and conditioning and test sessions were conducted in total darkness to preclude the use of visual cues. Therefore, the avoidance observed in subjects conditioned with immediate and 30-minute delayed toxicosis represents a conditioned aversion to the shape of the cookies as revealed by tactile cues. These findings illustrate that monkeys can learn to select food on the basis of tactile stimuli when such stimuli are conditioned with delayed aversive stimulation.