Brain links non-food images with eating -- But only when hungry, study suggests

There's a little of Pavlov's dog in all of us, according to new research. Instead of using meat and a ringing bell, scientists have trained humans to hunger for vanilla ice cream, at the sight of an abstract computer image.

Not only do we mentally connect the enjoyment of certain foods with unrelated stimuli, our brains can also relax these connections once we're full of that food, the researchers discovered. They report their findings in the journal Science, published by AAAS, the science society.

If that mental relaxing process doesn't happen properly, it might leave us with the urge to eat even once we're full. An inability to disconnect the anticipation of food from various sights, sounds, or other stimuli may play a role in compulsive eating, according to author Jay Gottfried of the Institute of Neurology in London.

The brain's connection-making tendencies, or "conditioning," may extend to other substances that also trigger the brain's reward circuitry, Gottfried said. The ease with which we seem to associate pleasure-giving substances with other items supports the idea that one reason it's so hard for addicts to stay clean is that the smallest signs can bring back the cravings for drugs or alcohol.

The ability to make connections between eating and various stimuli in one's environment is a fundamental part of learning that is probably common, to some degree, in all animals.

"Say a rabbit is hopping around its little grassy patch and he's learned how to find clover," Gottfried explained. "So, if he sees a particular tree stump, or rocky slope, that predicts clover."

As if nature knew we wouldn't just stop eating when we were full, it also evolved a "brake system" for the conditioning process. Gottfried and his colleagues discovered that the brain tones down certain associations, once a person is full of the desired substance.

Such a system spares the rabbit, for example, from spending all its wa

Contact: Christina Smith
American Association for the Advancement of Science

Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. Brain has center for detecting sound motion
2. Brains reward circuitry revealed in procrastinating primates
3. Brain serotonin enzyme finding might explain psychiatric disorders
4. Brain development and puberty may be key factors in learning disorders
5. Organization for Human Brain Mapping 2004 Annual Meeting
6. Brain disease research, particle physics meet in the middle (ware)
7. Brain control
8. Brain cells become more discriminating when they work together
9. Brain signal predicts working memory prowess
10. Brain areas identified that decode emotions of others
11. Brain Centre gives Wales a world lead

Post Your Comments:

(Date:4/17/2017)... MELBOURNE, Florida , April 17, 2017 ... security technology company, announces the filing of its 2016 Annual Report ... Securities and Exchange Commission. ... Report on Form 10-K is available in the Investor Relations section ... well as on the SEC,s website at http://www.sec.gov . ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... , April 11, 2017 No two ... researchers at the New York University Tandon School ... Engineering have found that partial similarities between prints ... used in mobile phones and other electronic devices ... The vulnerability lies in the fact that ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... 4, 2017 KEY FINDINGS The ... at a CAGR of 25.76% during the forecast period ... primary factor for the growth of the stem cell ... MARKET INSIGHTS The global stem cell market ... and geography. The stem cell market of the product ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... 2017 , ... A new study published in Fertility and ... in vitro fertilization (IVF) transfer cycles. The multi-center matched cohort study ... comparing the results from the fresh and frozen transfer cohorts, the authors of ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... CA (PRWEB) , ... October ... ... a development-stage cancer-focused pharmaceutical company advancing targeted antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) therapeutics, today ... of targeted HPLN (Hybrid Polymerized Liposomal Nanoparticle), a technology developed in collaboration ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... 2017 International research firm Parks Associates announced today ... the TMA 2017 Annual Meeting , October 11 in ... home security market and how smart safety and security products impact the ... Parks Associates: Smart Home Devices: ... "The residential security market has experienced ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... The Pittcon Program ... honoring scientists who have made outstanding contributions to analytical chemistry and ... 2018, the world’s leading conference and exposition for laboratory science, which will be ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: