RE: Spoiled Reward-Pathway Hypothesis

From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Tue Aug 28 2001 - 14:37:18 BST

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    From: Vincent Campbell <>
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    Subject: RE: Spoiled Reward-Pathway Hypothesis
    Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2001 14:37:18 +0100
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    >> I'm prepared to be laughed at here, but what about the Giant
    >> It's not exactly adapted for a bamboo only diet, isn't this
    >> behaviour?

            <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.>
            Well I'm probably wrong, but I thought that the Giant Panda's
    overall body design suggested an origin as a carnivore that developed a
    taste for bamboo that it is now tied to in a way that is leading to its
    extinction (bar human intervention to save it). That's what prompted me to
    suggest this.
    >> 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.>
            That doesn't dispute the point that other animals are capable of
    behavioural addiction. Some might say that culture in an of itself is a
    behaviour addiction perculiar to (or most developed in) humans.

            <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
    > addictive.>
            Yes, perhaps. There does seem to be a strange gap though between
    the behaviour and induced physiological effect e.g. why does gambling
    trigger addictive behaviour in some but not others (whilst drug addiction,
    depending on the drug, I assume is a little more likely whatever the
    personality)? Perhaps it's something to do with the tuning of our
    risk-reward networks in our brains (making the assumption that there is such
    a thing, probably with a proper name...).


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