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Experiment Finds That Lab Mice Prefer, And Savor, Snacks They Work Hard To Get

November 3, 2010: 06:33 AM EST

U.S. researchers working with mice found that the harder the animals worked to get a certain food the more they chose and savored it over other options. The researchers said the results suggest that dieters might be conditioned to consume lower calorie foods; the results also offer possible insights into ways to change other less-than-optimal behaviors. The research team conducted two experiments, both involving ordinary lab mice. In the first, mice pressed a lever once to obtain a sugary treat. But they had to press a second lever 15 times to get a similar snack. When later allowed to choose a snack freely, the mice preferred the food that they had worked harder for. The second experiment confirmed the results when a low-calorie snack was substituted.

lexander W. Johnson and Michela Gallagher, "Greater effort boosts the affective taste properties of food", Proceedings of the Royal Society B, November 03, 2010, © The Royal Society
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