Biological Explanation of Eating Behaviour

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What are the 2 biological explanations of eating behaviour?
Neural mechanisms, evolutionary
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What is the definition of homeostasis?
The body's ability to regulate physiologically its inner environment to ensure its stability
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What is the process of the hypothalamus cycle?
Eating, increase in blood glucose, ventromedial hypothalamus activated by leptin, satiety, eating stops, decrease in blood glucose, lateral hypothalamus activated by NPY, hunger, eating
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What is the role of the ventromedial hypothalamus?
Detecting satiety from high blood glucose causing eating to stop
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What is the role of the lateral hypothalamus?
Detecting hunger from low blood glucose causing eating
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What is damage to the ventromedial hypothalamus called?
Hyperphagia (overeating)
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What is damage to the lateral hypothalamus called?
Aphagia (under-eating)
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Who carried out research involving NPY injections & satiety in rats?
Wickens (2000)
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What were the results of Wickens' research?
Satiated rats continue feeding when NPY is injected into their lateral hypothalamus
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Who carried out research involving NPY injections & obesity in rats?
Stanley (1986)
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What were the results of Stanley's research?
Repeated injections of NPY in lateral hypothalamus caused rat obesity
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Who carried out research involving lesions in the ventromedial hypothalamus & obesity in rats?
Bayliss (1996)
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What were the results of Bayliss' research?
Lesions in the ventromedial hypothalamus of rats caused them to become obese
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Who carried out research involving NPY & abdominal fat?
Yang (2008)
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What were the results of Yang's research?
NPY might be produced in response to abdominal fat
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Who carried out research involving genetic disabling of NPY?
Marie (2000)
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What were the results of Marie's research?
Mice experiences no change in eating behaviour when NPY was disabled by genetic modification
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Who carried out research involving brain tissue, neutron & cell body destruction?
Logue (2004)
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What were the results of Logue's research?
Destroying brain tissue in the ventromedial hypothalamus area is likely to damage a lot more neutrons & cell bodies than is realised
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Who carried out research involving damage to the paraventricular nucleus?
Gold (1973)
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What were the results of Gold's research?
Damage to the paraventricular hypothalamus causes hyperphagia
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Who carried out research contradicting the idea that the hypothalamus is the brain's eating centre?
Sakurai (1998)
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What were the results of Sakurai's research?
Eating behaviour is controlled by neural circuits that run throughout the brain not just the hypothalamus, damage to the lateral hypothalamus causes other problems such as thirst & sex rather than just hunger
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What is a practical application of research into neural mechanisms?
Therapies could be developed involving the lateral hypothalamus & ventromedial hypothalamus to address eating disorders
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How does the neural explanation of eating behaviour contradict the evolutionary approach?
In the EEA it would have been maladaptive to only gather/hunt for food when hungry because energy would be needed to do so
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How can the neural mechanisms explanation of eating behaviour be criticised for being reductionist?
It reduces eating behaviour to an over-simplistic explanation which ignores important factors such as mood, culture & evolution
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What is a validity issue with much of the research into neural mechanisms using rats?
Findings can never be 100% valid as rats are biologically different to humans & will not have the same social drives
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How could the neural mechanisms explanation of eating behaviour be considered dangerous if accepted by the medical world?
It suggests that obese people have no free will in losing weight & that weight is due to only biology, preventing motivation to lose weight
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What is the definition of food neophobia?
Disliking/fear of new foods
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Why has food neophobia evolved?
In the EEA new foods could potentially be dangerous so it was safer to only eat familiar foods
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Who carried out research involving food neophobia in babies?
Birch & Manin (1982)
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What were the results of Birch & Manin's research?
Food neophobia is presented in babies but reduced after 8-10 exposures
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What is the definition of taste aversion?
Disliking/feeling ill at the thought of food which has caused illness in the past
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Why has taste aversion evolved?
To prevent reoccurrence of illness caused by specific food
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Who carried out research involving taste aversion in rats?
Garcia (1955)
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What were the results of Garcia's research?
Rats that were made ill via radiation after eating saccharin developed an aversion to it
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Why has a taste preference for sweetness evolved?
Early humans were frugivores & relied on sweet fruits for survival, carbs provide much needed energy, breast milk is sweet
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Why has a taste preference for saltiness evolved?
To replace salts lost in the EEA, needed for cell function, used in food preservation
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Why has a taste preference for umami evolved?
Becoming omnivores was adaptive as introduction of protein allowed humans to evolve & develop brain size & intelligence
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Why has a taste preference against sourness evolved?
Ability to identify sour food meant we were less likely to eat foods which had gone off
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Why has a taste preference against bitterness evolved?
Ability to identify bitter food meant we were less likely to eat foods which were poisonous or toxic
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Why has a taste preference for spiciness evolved?
Meat in hot countries was coated in spices as it had antimicrobacterial qualities
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Why has a taste preference for fattiness evolved?
Needed in the EEA as high levels of energy needed to survive in times of famine
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Who carried out research involving preference for sweetness?
Harris (1987)
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What were the results of Harris' research?
Because babies like sweet tastes from ***** this preference must be innate
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Who carried out research involving preference for saltiness?
Denton (1982)
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What were the results of Denton's research?
In the EEA humans experienced salt need due to low sodium & this is still experienced by animals because its an innate bodily response which has caused humans to evolve with a salt preference even though we are not lacking in sodium
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Who carried out research involving preference for umami?
Milton (2008)
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What were the results of Milton's research?
Consumption of meat when forestation ran out lead to humans being intelligent creatures as it increased our brain size
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Who carried out research involving preference against sourness & bitterness?
Birch (1999)
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What were the results of Birch's research?
Infants show negative facial expressions to sour & bitter tastes of mouth depression & arching of upper lips so a dislike of sourness & bitterness is innate
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Who carried out research involving preference for fattiness?
Burnham & Phelan (2008)
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What were the results of Burnham & Phelan's research?
Adults prefer fatty food due to a 'mean/thrifty/ gene which would have been adaptive in the EEA as we had little means for storage so would gorge ourselves on available food & even though this is no longer adaptive humans still have the preference
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Who carried out research involving preference for spiciness?
Sherman & Hash
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What were the results of Sherman & Hash's research?
In modern day society significantly less spice is used in veg dishes than meat because in the EEA humans would use spice to preserve meat
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What is a criticsm of the evolutionary explanation involving fossils?
There is no fossil evidence of what food was consumed by out ancestors so all understanding of early preferences are merely cirmunstantial
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Who carried out research involving starving monkeys?
Stanford
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What were the results of Stanford's research?
A study of chimps showed that after being starved they killed monkeys and went straight for the fatty parts
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How can genome lag be used to explain why some food preferences are maladaptive today?
Our environment has changed faster than our genes evolve so we still possess preferences than would have been adaptive in the EEA but are now maladaptive or unneccessary
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Who carried out research involving vegetarianism in the EEA?
Abrams (1975)
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What were the results of Abrams' research?
Plenty of evidence to suggest that early man showed preference for animal foods & fats, there simply wasn't enough calories available from plants & grains which questions the assumption that meat was a late addition to diet
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How does the evolutionary approach question psychology as a science?
There is limited empirical evidence towards the theory so it is not entirely valid or scientific
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How does the issue of individual differences criticise the evolutionary explanation of eating behaviour?
Individual differences of taste preferences develop after infancy which are influenced by factors such as culture & experience availability
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Card 2

Front

What is the definition of homeostasis?

Back

The body's ability to regulate physiologically its inner environment to ensure its stability

Card 3

Front

What is the process of the hypothalamus cycle?

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

What is the role of the ventromedial hypothalamus?

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

What is the role of the lateral hypothalamus?

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Preview of the front of card 5
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