Book Definition: A biological tendency in which an organism learns, after a single experience, to avoid a food with a certain taste, if eating it is followed by illness.

History (Optional)

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In Your Own Words

  • Is also an innate response because food aversions occur when the time between eating and sickness spans several hours
  • Humans have an innate readiness to associate certain stimuli (olives for example) with certain consequences (bad taste and sickness)


  • A farmer conditioning coyotes to stop killing sheep to protect his flock
  • If you eat blueberry ice cream for the first time, and that night you get sick, you may develop taste aversion to that flavor of ice cream.
  • After a night of eating chocolate, you wake up sick the next morning, which could lead to a taste aversion for chocolate for any period of time.

Additional Resources

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  • A experiment involving coyotes and sheep prey demonstrates the truths behind taste-aversion learning. Dead sheep were stuffed with toxic lamb burgers in the range of coyote activity. Coyotes approached the dead sheep thinking that their prey was just like any other. Although the sheep were known to be toxic, they not only gave the coyotes an instant, uneasy feeling as they rejected their prey after immediately consuming it, some became very sick. Over time as the coyotes became conditioned to the toxic sheep, they began to repulse any sign of sheep prey they could find. The taste-aversion they once felt has become a conditioned stimulus to them as they believe the sheep will produce the uneasy, sick feeling they once felt all over again.The coyotes grew a taste-aversion to sheep they saw in the near future.