• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Neural mechanisms of eating behaviour

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Outline and evaluate the role of neural mechanisms involved in the controlling of eating and satiation Our diet is essential to the maintenance of a constant internal environment- or homeostasis. One of the most obvious signs of homeostasis is that humans need to regulate their body weight within very narrow limits; so in order to do this people have to regulate their eating behaviour and food intake. Psychologists have undergone a lot of research into how we regulate eating behaviour. Early studies have shown that lesions to the Lateral Hypothalamus (LH) resulted in aphagia- failure to eat when hungry. Further evidence such as electrical stimulation of this particular area of the brain has lead researchers to believe that the LH acts as feeding centre in eating behaviour. Ranson et al found that a lesion in the VMH of rats would result in overeating and obesity. They concluded that the VMH was a satiety centre in the brain, its role to inhibit feeding behaviour. This research lead to the formation of the dual centre model of feeding: The first stage in eating behaviour is often characterised by feelings of hunger which prompts feeding to start. ...read more.

Middle

and decreased levels stimulating the VMH (satiety centre). However there are problems associated with generalising these findings; the research was carried out on only 6 participants- all of which were male. The differences between males and females are being overlooked (beta bias) and although some may argue that the differences don't apply here, researcher have found evidence that neural pathways associated with pain differ in males and females so there is a possibility that neural pathways associated with eating behaviour may also differ in men and women. Never the less, Cummings et al did try to minimise external variables or cues which may have influenced the behaviour of participants. By removing time cues, the researchers removed any social factors which may have simulated eating behaviour further expanding generalisability of the findings to other cultures. However it could also be argued that this lack of ecological validity doesn't reflect what would happen in a real life situation. The findings provide correlational data, so we are unable to establish a cause and effect and there may be other factors which influence hunger- this is show by the fact that people who have had their ...read more.

Conclusion

Further evidence to support the role of CCK comes from studies showing that animals with a gene mutation eliminating the CCK system over eat and become obese. The role of neural pathways in control of eating behaviour is an aspect of the biological approach, this means that most of the findings from studies are likely to be objective (based on observable phenomenon) and replicable which are two major components central to science. Despite this, the approach is heavily reductionist in that it ignores social and psychological aspects of eating behaviour. For example it fails to explain why we eat even though we are not hungry or in a state of satiety, the reason to this issue is likely to be in the behavioural explanation of eating behaviour e.g. the role of social learning and scheduled feeding. A further criticism of the role of neural mechanisms, in the control of eating and satiation, is that the view is very deterministic and sees behaviour as mostly determined by our brain structure and genetic makeup. This leaves little room for free will, implying that an individual cannot be held responsible for his/her own actions. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Social Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

4 star(s)

This essay makes some good points with careful choice of theory and research. Perhaps include a little more discussion of the psychological factors such as the role of stress in overeating, powerful habits and even the smell of freshly baked cakes or coffee. 4*

Marked by teacher Stephanie Duckworth 03/05/2013

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Social Psychology essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Is Psychology a Science?

    5 star(s)

    Many of Freud's theories are not able to be tested, and many of his studies, because empirical measures cannot be applied, remain firmly in theory and cannot be tested, they are difficult to operationalise - it is impossible to test if the unconscious exists if we are by nature meant to be unaware of it.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    The effect of the Level of Processing on the amount of information recalled

    4 star(s)

    confidential and anonymous and would be destroyed if they did not want it to be used. They were also told what the aim of the study was. Any ethical issues such as deception were resolved and participants were thanked for taking part and were asked to contact the researcher at

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Describe and assess the evidence that socialisation plays a major part in shaping human ...

    behaviour when an individual agrees to conform to the beliefs, aims and regulations of the organisation.

  2. Discuss how the primacy effects and recency effects AND central traits might influence impression ...

    He concluded that warmth is the central trait having the largest impression but politeness is a peripheral trait. Kelley in 1950 used students as participants. The students attending a lecture were given biographical notes about the lecturer that were the same except he was described as warm for half of students and cold for the other half.

  1. Holmes and Rahes believed that a change associated with major life events acts as ...

    These daily hassles can be routine or unexpected incidents but the emotional effects usually disappear after a short time. Lazarus believed that daily stressors affect well being by accumulating over a series of days. These create persistent irritation and overloads resulting in a more serious stress reaction.

  2. This raises the interesting question of how collision avoidance amongst pedestrians is achieved. Several ...

    Collett and Marsh therefore excluded from their analysis all those who were carrying something. However, the sex difference remained. Thus the findings regarding arm movements do seem to support Collett and Marsh's view that female behaviour is self-protective. Other research, which may have relevance to the idea of open and closed passes, is that reported by Jenni and Jenni (1976)

  1. Whistleblowing, The Problems and the Issue.

    psychologically, which includes tension between by colleagues, spreading of rumours, formal reprimands, transfer to positions with no work or too much work, demotion, dismissal and blacklisting (Martin, 1999, a). Secondly, they cannot gain trust from others. Usually, whistleblowers are hard working and conscientious employees.

  2. Obedience & Conformity: The Situation In Abu Ghraib

    General Ricardo Sanchez was commander officer at Abu Ghraib and approved the use of coercive interrogation techniques including stress positions; sleep deprivation, the use of hoods, and isolation of detainees for over thirty days. The military personnel at Abu Ghraib felt empowered to abuse the detainees.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work