Odor preferences in neonatal and weanling rats.Dev Psychobiol. 1998 Sep; 33(2):157-62.DP
In order to establish odors which can be used in appetitive and aversive conditioning paradigms, naive rat pups, postnatal day 7 (i.e., PND 7) and weanlings (PND 25), were placed in a rectangular open field with an odorant at one or both ends. Time spent over each odor was measured for 3 min. At both ages subjects avoided peppermint, orange, and lemon odors in favor of fresh home-cage bedding. Comparing any of these three odorants with each other resulted in no significant differences in preferences. In experiments using banana odorant, equal time was spent between banana and no odorant. However, in a two-odorant choice between banana and peppermint, weanlings preferred banana whereas pups showed no preference. The results of this study indicate that in an appetitive learning paradigm, peppermint, orange, or lemon odors may be used, while in aversive learning paradigms banana odor may be more appropriate for weanlings.