PSY 355 Motivation and the Brain
PSY 355 Motivation and the Brain
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Date Created: 11/13/15
Motivation and brain paper The brain plays a Vital role in motivation The complexity of the brain and its many responsibilities make it a primary control center for proper development and functioning of all individuals Motivation is necessary in all aspects of life whether it s eating healthy attempting to quit smoking or drinking abstaining from drugs or increasing physical activity The brain is one of the main driVing forces behind the motivation that is required for these behaviors to take place When it comes to eating healthy it is often an internal struggle to maintain a high level of motivation to sustain a healthy diet The limbic system namely the hypothalamus within the brain has been closely linked to motivating such behaviors Carlson 2007 p88 There are also important neurotransmitters such as serotonin within the brain that can in uence the behavior of eating healthy In addition to the in uence of brain structures on motivation there are also extrinsic and intrinsic factors that can have an impact on one s motivation to eat healthy The combination of extrinsic and intrinsic factors accompanied by various structures of the brain all work together to provide motivation for healthy eating All humans must eat to survive but what they eat is an entirely different matter Each individual is capable of choosing what when and how much they eat in most cases Hunger and satiety are the two main driVing factors that lead to food consumption Hunger determines when to eat while satiety determines to eat In a perfect world people would be able to maintain a constant healthy weight by simply listening to their own bodies however it is not always quite this simple The pleasure that one receives while consuming food can sometimes Motivation and brain paper motivate an individual to overeat which can become an unhealthy habit It is this same type of motivation that can also lead to healthy eating habits rather than unhealthy eating habits Some individuals are more motivated by the health benefits of maintaining a healthy diet rather than by the pleasure that they receive by eating unhealthy foods Obviously motivation is the key to understanding these behaviors but where does this motivation come from There are various parts of the brain that have been attributed to motivating behaviors such as healthy eating This includes the limbic system the hypothalamus and also a variety of essential neurotransmitters These elements of the brain are the key to motivating an individual to eat healthy To fully understand how these parts of the brain affect motivation it is important to delve into the underlying functions associated with these areas of the brain Neurotransmitters are chemicals found within the brain that help communicate vital messages throughout the body and the brain There are a few neurotransmitters that are important to motivating a specific behavior which includes healthy eating These neurotransmitters often help trigger hunger or satiety but they can also help motivate an individual to stay away from unhealthy foods In addition to neurotransmitters there is also supporting evidence of hormones such as cholecystokinin CCK leptin and ghrelin to provoke hunger Motivation and brain paper Serotonin is a monoaminergic neurotransmitter found within the brain It helps relay messages in relation to moods emotions sleep and appetite The sight smell or expectation of food stimulates serotonin release in the hypothalamus a part of the brain known to regulate feeding and sleep As eating begins serotonin continues to rise until it registers in the hypothalamus as the experience of satisfaction or satiety Hart 1996 para9 Serotonin can do three important things in relation to healthy eating it can reduce the attraction generally unhealthy foods it can reduce the amount of food consumed and it can prevent cravings for fatty foods Serotonin s ability to control hunger and satiety has led to a possible treatment for people struggling with obesity Peptides are short chains of amino acids that function as hormones and neurotransmitters The gastrointestinal tract releases these peptides when food is ingested to signal satiety to the brain These are called Another type of peptide is said to increase hunger and these peptides are referred to as Hunger peptides are found in the hypothalamus while satiety peptides are found in the gastrointestinal tract In one of the more recent discoveries it seems that there is a protein called leptin which is released by fat cells when we overeat Boeree 2009 para6 Levels of leptin can be detected by the hypothalamus via the bloodstream which can in turn cause a decrease in appetite A possible mutation in the gene which produces leptin has been linked to overeating This mutation seems to cause a miscommunication which results in the hypothalamus being unable to determine when enough food has been consumed The discovery of leptin and its role in appetite Motivation and brain paper control is fairly new so there are still many aspects of this particular protein that have yet to be discovered Apart from the motivational factors attributed to the brain there are also extrinsic and intrinsic factors that have an immense impact on an individual s motivation to eat healthy Extrinsic motivation is a result of external incentives while intrinsic motivation is a result of inherent and instinctual actions Deckers 2010 It is the combination of both extrinsic and intrinsic factors that is equally important to maintaining motivation towards eating healthy Extrinsic factors can include incentives such as money good grades social acceptance and so on When it comes to eating healthy the extrinsic factors play an extremely important role The environment has a significant in uence on the extrinsic factors that affect motivation People often have a number of extrinsic motives for eating healthy which can often be attributed to environmental derivatives For some people weight loss is the extrinsic motivating factor behind healthy eating Maintaining a healthy diet will result in a healthier body weight and better body image Society and the environment in which an individual lives can have the power to alter one s motivation towards eating People are often surrounded by magazines and television shows which tend to portray the ideal image of perfection As a result of these environmental in uences people might become motivated to eat healthier to lose weight and fit into this stereotype Others might eat healthy foods because it makes them feel better about Motivation and brain paper themselves and increases their overall self esteem In some cases people must eat healthy to lower their cholesterol or keep diabetes in check These factors would also be included in sources of extrinsic motivation because they too produce incentives for maintaining healthy eating habits Intrinsic factors are highly important to all factors of motivation in life Heredity is one of the main in uential factors behind intrinsic motivation Eating habits are often learned at an early age Parents who do not have healthy eating habits will typically pass on these unhealthy habits to their children What and how healthy one eats is a result of what one has learned from the past but it does not necessarily determine how one will adapt over the years In the past the major reasons behind eating were accredited to basic survival This factor has been a constant element in human survival and is passed down throughout the generations It is an inherent element that motivates the behaviors of eating and it also has an in uence on what and how much one chooses to eat One example of how intrinsic motivation comes into play would be cases of compulsive overeating Thompson 2010 paral states that Compulsive overeaters use food as a way to cope with stress emotional con icts and daily problems Eating patterns are formed during early childhood which is typically when instances of compulsive overeating may begin to develop as a result of traumatic experiences or underlying psychological issues The act of compulsive eating helps temporarily ease some of the emotional turmoil that may be occurring within the individual suffering from this disorder Motivation and brain paper Healthy eating is a behavior that is in uenced by various sources of motivation The hypothalamus and certain neurotransmitters play a significant role in motivating an individual to eat healthy In addition to the brain extrinsic and intrinsic factors are also imperative to maintaining proper motivation to eat healthy The combination of these three sources can help elevate the levels of motivation that an individual has to maintain healthy eating habits Each individual has their own unique sources of motivation and for some people one source may be more dominant than others While the obvious benefits of healthy eating seem to be universal the individualized ideas and motivations behind healthy eating are often vast and unpredictable from one person to the next Motivation and brain paper
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