RE: Spoiled Reward-Pathway Hypothesis

From: Philip Jonkers (
Date: Tue Aug 28 2001 - 13:48:29 BST

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    Subject: RE: Spoiled Reward-Pathway Hypothesis
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    Quoting Vincent Campbell <>:

    > I'm prepared to be laughed at here, but what about the Giant Panda?
    > It's
    > not exactly adapted for a bamboo only diet, isn't this addictive
    > behaviour?

    I've been off for a week, so sorry for these late replies...

    What inspired you to say this Vincent? To the best of my
    knowledge, Panda's are highly adapted to eating bamboo; they have
    suitably tough throats and stomachs to handle bamboo trunks and
    splinters. Therefore I don't, in any way, find it possible to
    conceive of this vital activity as damaging addictive behavior.
    On the contrary.
    > One problem, I suppose, is how one might define addictive behaviour in
    > animals in their natural environments, given that they largley
    > do not have the "free" time as it were, to indulge behaviours
    > as humans can thanks to our (in the developed parts of the
    > world at any rate) having taken away the time spent gathering
    > food etc. Surely the lab experiments demonstrate the
    > principle that animals are capable of addictive behaviour
    > given the "right" circumstances?

    Allow me to present you with a definition cooked up by myself.
    Addictive behavior: a type of behavior that gains dominance over
    other behaviors to such an extent that the well-being or life-
    expectancy of the relevant party is reduced.

    Corrolary: If the addictive behavior has overshadowed attention
    to more beneficial or vital types of behaviors, it can be said
    that the addictive behavior is damaging.

    > There's a rboader problem around defining things as evidence of
    > addictive behaviour when they're not related to physiology-
    > e.g. some drug use can be addictive, but is say, gambling
    > genuinely addictive in the same way? I believe the psychology
    > community (and policymakers) largely think so. But
    > then, what do I know...

    Drugs, sex, gambling, eating... when exercising these activities
    to an addictive repetitive degree they all have a common
    neurochemical denominator. That is, they affect
    the brain in a similar way. So yes, gambling can truly be


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