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Chapter 12: Motivation and Work

•Scientist Ancel Keys selected 36 WWII soldiers and studied the effects of a lack of food.
o After the amount of food given to the men was reduced, all they could think about
was food.
o They lost interest in sex and social activities, only wanted food.

The Physiology of Hunger

•Keys’ semistarved subjects felt their hunger in response to a homeostatic system designed
to maintain normal body weight and an adequate nutrient supply.
•Washburn and Cannon wanted to find out if an empty stomach triggers hunger.
o Washburn swallowed a balloon and had it inflate and deflate in his stomach.
o They discovered that Washburn was having stomach contractions when he felt
•Ghrelin – a hunger-arousing hormone secreted by an empty stomach.
•If the stomach was removed completely, hunger would still remain.
Body Chemistry and the Brain
•People and other animals automatically regulate their caloric intake to prevent energy
deficits and to maintain a stable body weight.
•Glucose: the form of sugar that circulates in the blood and provides the major source of
energy for body tissues. When its level is low, we feel hunger.
o Signals from the stomach, intestines, and liver all signal the brain to motivate eating
or not.
•Lateral hypothalamus – brings on hunger.
 Located along the sides of the hypothalamus.
o If destroyed, even a starving animal won’t eat food.
o Orexin – hunger-triggering hormone secreted by hypothalamus.
•Ventromedial hypothalamus – depresses hunger.
 Located in the lower middle of the hypothalamus.
o If destroyed, an animal will continue to eat no matter how full.
•To estimate body fat and prevent us from getting too thin, the hypothalamus monitors
levels of leptin, a protein produced by bloated fat cells.
o When leptin levels are abundant, causes brain to increase metabolism and decrease
 Obese humans already have high leptin levels so injecting them with some
won’t cause them to eat less and increase activities.
o PYY – Digestive tract hormone; sends “I’m not hungry” signals to brain.
o Insulin – Hormone secreted by pancreas, controls blood glucose.
•Set Point: the point at which an individual’s “weight thermostat” is supposedly set.
o When the body falls below this weight, an increase in hunger and a lowered
metabolic rate may act to restore the lost weight.
o Body regulates weight much better than any conscious effort.

o Basal Metabolic Rate: the body’s resting rate of energy expenditure.

 This can raise or fall depending on amount of food consumed.
•Given unlimited access to tasty foods, people and animals usually overeat and gain
o This casts doubt on the idea that our bodies have a present tendency to maintain an
optimum weight.

The Psychology of hunger

•Paul Rozin 2 patients with amnesia who couldn’t remember anything happening more
than a minute ago.
o He fed them a lunch and then twenty minutes later offered them a second lunch which
they then consumed.
 = Part of knowing when to eat is out memory of eating last.
Taste Preference: Biology or Culture?
•Eliot Stellar discovered that people chew more as the meal progresses while both hunger
and meal tastiness decrease.
•Our preferences for sweet and salty tastes are genetic and universal.
o Other taste preferences are conditioned.
 People exposed with spicy food will eventually enjoy spicy food.
•Culture effects taste.
o Different things are enjoyed in different places.
•Humans have a natural dislike of many novel foods. Especially novel animal foods.
Eating Disorders
•Anorexia Nervosa: an eating disorder in which a normal-weight person (usually a
teenage girl) diets and becomes significantly (15% or more) underweight, yet still feels fat
and continues to diet.
•Bulimia Nervosa: an eating disorder characterized by episodes of overeating, usually of
high-calorie foods, followed by vomiting, laxatives, fasting, or excessive exercise.
o Condition easier to hide than anorexia because weight usually remains within or
above normal ranges.
•Eating disorders do not provide a telltale sign of sexual abuse.
•Can be caused from a mother who is concerned with her weight.
•If twins are identical rather than fraternal, the chances of the other twin’s sharing the
disorder are slightly higher.
•There is a cultural explanation: our weight obsessed culture.
o Over time, society has deemed women who were thin as more attractive.
•Body ideals vary over culture and time.
•In addition to cultural pressures, low self-esteem and negative emotions (with a possible
genetic component) seem to interact with stressful life experiences to produce anorexia
and bulimia.