Why you should never make a de­ci­sion when you are hun­gry

Pakistan Observer - - KARACHI CITY -

RE­SEARCHERS at the Sahlgren­ska Academy, Univer­sity of Gothenburg, Swe­den, have pinned down a hor­mone that is pro­duced when we are hun­gry that in­ter­feres with ra­tio­nal­ity and de­ci­sion-mak­ing. Rats given the hor­mone ghre­lin were more likely to act on impulse. Im­pul­siv­ity af­fects every­one to dif­fer­ing de­grees, and each in­di­vid­ual can be more or less im­pul­sive de­pend­ing on the sit­u­a­tion.

For­go­ing some­thing plea­sur­able now, in favour of some­thing bet­ter later on, shows con­trol. This so­called de­layed grat­i­fi­ca­tion is re­garded as the op­po­site of im­pul­sive be­hav­iour. Im­pul­siv­ity can be bro­ken down into two types: Im­pul­sive ac­tion, in other words, the in­abil­ity to stop one’s self from mak­ing a phys­i­cal ac­tion; and im­pul­sive choice, an in­abil­ity to de­lay grat­i­fi­ca­tion.

Although most peo­ple can con­trol their im­pulses suf­fi­ciently, im­pul­siv­ity is a ma­jor fac­tor in a num­ber of con­di­tions, in­clud­ing at­ten­tion deficit hy­per­ac­tiv­ity dis­or­der (ADHD), ob­ses­sive-com­pul­sive dis­or­der (OCD), eat­ing dis­or­ders, and sub­stance abuse. This con­nec­tion to var­i­ous psy­chi­atric con­di­tions makes im­pul­siv­ity an im­por­tant area of study. Ear­lier stud­ies have un­cov­ered a re­la­tion­ship be­tween food re­ward be­hav­iour and im­pul­siv­ity. How­ever, a mech­a­nism has not yet been proven.

A new study, pub­lished re­cently in Neu­ropsy­chophar­ma­col­ogy, aimed to fill this gap. The re­searchers in­ves­ti­gated im­pul­siv­ity in rats, specif­i­cally in re­la­tion to the hor­mone ghre­lin. Ghre­lin is a hor­mone, pro­duced in the gas­troin­testi­nal tract that acts on the cen­tral ner­vous sys­tem. It is re­leased when the stom­ach is empty. Once the stom­ach has be­come filled, pro­duc­tion of ghre­lin ceases. Ghre­lin read­ies the body for food, and it also works on cells of the hy­po­thal­a­mus to in­duce the feel­ing of hunger.

The role of ghre­lin is not lim­ited to the hunger re­sponse alone. It has also been im­pli­cated in the re­ward be­hav­iour as­so­ci­ated with drugs, al­co­hol, and food in­take. Re­searchers at the Sahlgren­ska Academy, led by Karolina Sk­ibicka, set out to in­ves­ti­gate ghre­lin’s po­ten­tial role in im­pul­sive be­hav­iour. The team trained rats to per­form a va­ri­ety of tasks that al­lowed them to mea­sure im­pul­sive be­hav­ior. The first, re­ferred to as the “go/ no-go” test, mea­sured the rats abil­ity to re­strain a re­sponse.

Rats were trained to ei­ther press a lever to get a re­ward - re­ferred to as a “go” sig­nal - or they were re­warded for not press­ing a lever a “no-go” sig­nal. The rats were taught to ei­ther “go,” or “no-go,” de­pen­dent on an au­di­tory sig­nal (a light or buzzer). A sec­ond trial, called the “dif­fer­en­tial re­in­force­ment of low rate,” pro­vided rats with a food pel­let re­ward only if they were able to with­hold their re­sponse for a set pe­riod of time. The third leg, called “de­lay dis­count,” mea­sured the rats’ abil­ity to de­lay grat­i­fi­ca­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.