Saturday, November 01, 2008

It's all in the brain

If you are obese and tend to eat too much, it is not because you are a glutton, unable to resist food. On the contrary, it may be because you derive reduced satisfaction from a given quantity of food. So, to attain a certain level of satisfaction, in absolute terms, you simply need to eat more food.

That’s what this article in Science suggests ( via Jonah lehrer). Obese people have reduced activity levels in the pleasure centres (striatum) of the brain and so need to keep binging, in a manic search for satisfaction.

As a commenter on Jonah’s blog observes, “I immediately wonder whether this effect also applies to sex, drugs, gambling, and anything else people get addicted to ….

A millionaire who craves for more money may not be driven by greed. Poor fellow, due to reduced quantity of dopamine receptors in his striatum, he actually gets reduced satisfaction from a given sum of money, and so has to simply have more money to derive the same level of satisfaction that you have with your measly savings bank account. He is actually physically handicapped and is to be pitied. Reach out to him…..

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