August 4, 2014

"Brain chemistry causes some people to notice food more."

"Researchers in a study found that dopamine activity in the striatum, an area of the brain sensitive to food reward is linked to how quickly men noticed a food picture hidden among neutral pictures...."

8 comments:

Terry said...

How do they know that noticing hidden food pictures doesn't produce dopamine activity in the striatum?
Reducing human thought to chemical reactions is like reducing Shakespeare to pigment daubs on paper. We don't experience dopamine activity, we experience hunger.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

That's right! It's not my total lack of self-control, it's my gosh-darned brain chemistry!

William said...

I know of one bakery that sends it's exhaust fumes out onto the street. I try to avoid it, but sometimes I forget. It's awful. I get pie withdrawal symptoms. My body cramps up and sometimes I just lie there whimpering on the sidewalk. Anyone who has ever suffered from this sickness knows better than to make cheap jokes at the expense of those afflicted. Now that they've isolated the physiology of the disease, let's hope they find a cure.

Terry said...

Mr. Slothrop brings up a good point. If dopamine in certain parts of the brain 'causes' hunger (or attention to hunger), it would do no good at all to 'try' and control your hunger. Your 'trying' would just be another another chemical reaction in your brain, inevitable and soulless as the operation of a natural law.

Fernandinande said...

"Brain chemistry" and activity are the causes of all behavior, as well as the differences in behavior (including self-control).

When they find a specific mechanism, as in this case, the (MSM) headline always seems to imply that they'd previously thought the behavior was caused by magic; Pinker's "Ghost in the machine".

My fave dumb brain headline is "X permanently changes your brain!" (X=video games, porn, evil drugs...) because reading that headline permanently changed your brain, too, just like any other experience.

Peter said...


So, does the hunger cause the brain chemistry, or does the brain chemistry cause the hunger? Or does one simply say, the brain chemistry is the (sensation of) hunger?

The whole "brain chemistry" racket does present some basic causality issues, as it's not clear whether strange thoughts produce strange brain chemistry or the reverse.


whitney said...

I take care of people's pets for a living and the majority of my dogs need to have their food regulated or they would eat themselves to death. A small percentage of dogs are "grazers". Just leave food in the bowl, they eat what they need and never get fat. I don't think people are all that different from my dogs

ken in sc said...

This is no joke. The EPA has actually issued citations to bakeries for making too much fresh bread smell. It is considered pollution.