Read Kessler text: Chapters 7 through 13
Define and explain the following concepts: neurons, “encoded” for palatability, “orosensory self-stimulation,” opioid circuitry, “nucleus accumbens,” “taste-specific satiety,” “hedonic hot spot,” dopamine, “attentional bias,” “conditioned stimulus,” “incentive salience,” “hot stimulus,” “functional connectivity,” “action schemata,” and habits. Explain the roles of each of these factors with regard to eating, overeating, and obesity. Explain the relationship between each of these factors and the brain. Describe in detail the process that occurs in the brain when we eat foods that are highly palatable.
Write a 500 word paper to address the questions above. You are required to cite your sources in the body of your text properly, include a reference page, and use APA style.
Expert Solution Preview
In Chapter 7 through 13 of Kessler’s text, the concept of neurons, palatability, orosensory self-stimulation, opioid circuitry, nucleus accumbens, taste-specific satiety, hedonic hot spot, dopamine, attentional bias, conditioned stimulus, incentive salience, hot stimulus, functional connectivity, action schemata, and habits are discussed thoroughly. The paper aims to define and explain these concepts and their correlation with eating, overeating, and obesity. Furthermore, the process that occurs in the brain when we eat foods that are highly palatable is explained in detail.
Neurons are nerve cells that make up the central and peripheral nervous systems. Signals travel through neurons, allowing us to feel, think, and react. In terms of eating, neurons control hunger and satiety. Stimuli from the stomach and intestines activate neurons and cause sensations of fullness, leading to suppression of appetite.
“Encoded” for Palatability:
Palatability refers to the taste and other sensory characteristics of food that make it pleasing to eat. Humans have evolved to prefer foods that taste good, as this has been historically linked to adequate nutrition. Palatability can be encoded in the brain, leading us to seek out certain foods for pleasure, even if not necessarily due to hunger.
Orosensory self-stimulation refers to the pleasurable stimulation of taste buds and other sensory receptors that occurs when eating palatable foods. The more pleasurable the sensation, the more likely we are to seek out that food again in anticipation of that pleasure.
Opioid circuitry in the brain is activated by certain foods, especially those high in sugar and fat. This circuitry creates a pleasurable “reward” sensation that reinforces the behavior of seeking out and consuming palatable foods. Over time, repeated activation of this circuitry can lead to addiction-like behaviors related to food.
The nucleus accumbens is a brain region that plays a key role in reward processing and addiction. It is activated by palatable foods and is part of the opioid circuitry that reinforces the desire to seek out and consume those foods.
Taste-specific satiety refers to the phenomenon where the enjoyment of a particular food decreases after consuming a large quantity of that food. This can help to regulate overall food intake by reducing the desire to continue eating the same food.
“Hedonic Hot Spot”:
The hedonic hot spot is a specific area of the brain, located in the nucleus accumbens, that is activated by palatable foods. Activation of this area reinforces the desire to seek out and consume those foods.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in reward processing and motivation. It is released in response to palatable foods and activates the opioid circuitry and nucleus accumbens, leading to reinforcement of the behavior of seeking out and consuming those foods.
Attentional bias refers to the tendency to pay more attention to certain stimuli than others. In terms of eating, attentional bias can lead to increased focus on palatable foods and reduced awareness of other cues related to hunger and fullness.
A conditioned stimulus is a stimulus that has become associated with a particular reward or behavior. In terms of eating, conditioned stimuli can include the sight or smell of palatable foods.
Incentive salience refers to the motivational value of a reward or stimulus. In terms of eating, incentive salience can drive desire for palatable foods.
A hot stimulus is a particularly salient or pleasurable stimulus. In terms of eating, hot stimuli can refer to palatable foods that activate the opioid circuitry and reinforce the behavior of seeking out and consuming those foods.
Functional connectivity refers to the pattern of communication between different brain regions. In terms of eating, functional connectivity can play a role in regulating food intake by helping to integrate information related to hunger, fullness, and palatability.
Action schemata refer to mental representations of specific actions or behaviors. In terms of eating, action schemata can include habits related to particular foods or cues related to meal times and snacks.
Habits are automatic, repetitive behaviors that are triggered by specific cues or contexts. In terms of eating, habits related to palatable foods or specific times of day can contribute to overeating and obesity.
The concepts discussed in Kessler’s text shed light on the complex interplay between the brain, behavior, and food intake. Understanding the roles of neurons, palatability, opioid circuitry, and other factors in driving overeating and obesity is key to developing effective strategies for prevention and treatment of these issues. By targeting the specific mechanisms that contribute to problematic eating behaviors, it may be possible to help individuals regulate their food intake and improve overall health.
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