Paradoxical effects of experience with food size and flavour in golden hamsters, Mesocricetus auratus
Young hamsters were reared until 35 days of age with access to food pellets of one of three sizes. They were then given a choice between the three sizes of pellets: the familiar size and two unfamiliar sizes, and the rate of energy gain from eating pellets of each size was established. Contrary to predictions from optimal foraging theory, the animals chose pellets of the most unfamiliar size, not the most profitable ones. A taste preference study was conducted to see whether hamsters respond to taste cues as do other rodents. The animals showed a preference for familiar flavours. The results of these studies suggest that the sorts of experiences animals have had with food must be considered in any account of food choice behaviour.
Turpin, Barbara, and Timothy D. Johnston. "Paradoxical effects of experience with food size and flavour in golden hamsters, Mesocricetus auratus." Animal behaviour 42, no. 1 (1991): 103-110.