RE: Spoiled Reward-Pathway Hypothesis

From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Wed Aug 22 2001 - 10:48:00 BST

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    From: Vincent Campbell <>
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    Subject: RE: Spoiled Reward-Pathway Hypothesis
    Date: Wed, 22 Aug 2001 10:48:00 +0100
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    Well, there is an increasing if controversial view that there are such
    things as addictive personalities, people who are inherently prone to become
    addicted to things, that may have a biological basis- a bit like the way
    some people are very timid and others are major thrill-seekers (possible due
    to different levels of MAO, Monoamine Oxidase an enzyme important in
    relation to serotonin).

    I think this relates to that debate about whether or not human evolution has
    effectively stopped or not. A bit like the impossible to answer question of
    when did hominids become recognisably human, because must of the evolution
    appears to have gone on in the brain, which doesn't fossilise. What if
    thinks like addictive behaviour, given the largely safe environment people
    (in the developed world anyway) grow up in, that means that people prone to
    obsessive repetition of behaviour where they might have died off in the
    ancestral environment.

    It's a bit like something I've always wondered- is human eyesight
    potentially going to get progressively worse now that those with poor vision
    aren't eaten by smilodons but instead can wear glasses/contact lenses/get
    laser correction surgery? I suppose there's the thonry issue of whether
    glasses make a person less attrative or not, but not the extent of
    celebrities wearing glasses (when they often clearly don't need them)-
    shades mostly. Big 70s style ones, with coloured lenses like those worn for
    some kinds of dyslexia seem very fashionable at the moment. I have
    definitely reached that age where fashion trends are now incomprehensible to
    me (not that I understood them that well as a teenager). But I digress....


    > ----------
    > From: Philip Jonkers
    > Reply To:
    > Sent: Monday, August 20, 2001 3:11 pm
    > To:
    > Subject: Re: Spoiled Reward-Pathway Hypothesis
    > Philip:
    > > > Natural selection ought to favor birds who aren't drunk
    > > an
    > > > entire season. I am well aware also that drugs (including alcohol)
    > > are
    > > > not uncommon for usage in the animal kingdom. I cannot imagine,
    > > > really, that natural selection would allow for animal `druggies' to
    > > > emerge and maintain in the extremely competitive and demanding
    > > natural
    > > > world.
    > Joe:
    > > It's a cost-benefit analysis; when fermented barries are the only (or
    > > the major) source of food available, the collateral damage some
    > > drunken birds do to themselves could be much less than the
    > > massive die-off afflicting starving flocks. Of course, selection
    > > pressures would progressively weed out those birds unable to
    > > handle their liquor, the ones who could handle it would live to
    > > reproduce, and subsequent generations would find the equation
    > > more and more in favor of the berry-eating stoners.
    > Hi Joe, thanks also for the feedback. Fair enough, natural selection seems
    > to favor the sober animal and permits the occasional user. So much
    > for the animal kingdom, I'm still left with humans who, I think it's
    > safe to say, generally are susceptible to develop addiction of whatever
    > kind.
    > Can you account for this with arguments ignoring human culture?
    > Philip.
    > ===============================================================
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