Common sense suggests that water-deprived or food-deprived organisms should be more willing to consume foods or fluids that would be deemed undesirable under lower states of deprivation. With food, evidence favoring this account has been observed; however other studies find that hungry participants demonstrate increased finickiness—avoiding less palatable alternatives and consuming more of pleasant ones. This study set out to test whether thirst generally increases acceptability (the “common sense” view) or whether it produces increased finickiness. Thirst was induced in one group of participants (relative to nonthirsty controls), and the impact of this on their judgment of optimal and suboptimal water sources was examined. Thirsty participants liked optimal stimuli more, but liked suboptimal stimuli less, relative to controls, but this occurred only when the stimuli were actually tasted. These data suggest that thirst polarizes extant hedonic responses to fluids—finickiness—thereby maintaining optimal water selection under conditions of mild to moderate deprivation.
Stevenson, Richard J.; Case, Trevor I.; and Oaten, Megan J.
"Salt-Induced Thirst Results In Increased Finickiness In Humans,"
The Psychological Record: Vol. 60
, Article 1.
Available at: http://opensiuc.lib.siu.edu/tpr/vol60/iss3/1