Motivation and The Brain - Running head MOTIVATION AND THE...

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Running head: MOTIVATION AND THE BRAIN 1 Motivation and The Brain Malisha Mishoe PSY 355 January 9, 2011 Dr. Peters
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MOTIVATION AND THE BRAIN 2 Motivation and The Brain Motivation and the Brain Motivation is at its core potential in nature, only finding a kinetic outlet when behavior is facilitated. Motivation can be liken to a large boulder being suspended on a hill by the small, wooden peg of choice. The boulder stores only potential energy while withheld on top of the hill, but by acting upon the small, wooden peg of choice motivation can be translated into kinetic energy—behavior (i.e. the boulder rolling down the hill). Achievement motivation theory dictates that incentive value, the attractiveness of an incentive as determined by number or amount, is mediated by the tendency to succeed (Ts) and the tendency to avoid failure (Taf) (Deckers, 2005). The actual inclination to exhibit the potential energy of motivation as the kinetic energy of behavior is the sum of the tendency to succeed and the tendency to avoid failure (Ts + Taf). Thus, the motivation to eat healthy is suspended in potential energy, pending a choice arbitrated by the sum of Ts and Taf, and finding expression as behavior—kinetic energy. Furthermore, important to the discussion of the motivation to eat healthy are the underlying neurological structures involved in the sensation of hunger and satiety, intrinsic and extrinsic factors, and the environmental and biological basis of anorexia nervosa and obesity. Neurological Structures of Hunger and Satiety In the 1930’s, 40’s, and 50’s experiments on rats, concerning lesions to the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH) and the lateral hypothalamus (LH), seemed to explain the neurological mechanisms of hunger and satiety (Pinel, 2007). It was hypothesized that these areas in the brain acted collectively as an on/off switch (VMH/LH) for the initiation of hunger and the consummation of satiety. Implicated as evidence for this supposed neurological on/off switch were experiments in which bilateral electrolytic lesions to the VMH caused hyperphasia
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MOTIVATION AND THE BRAIN 3 (excessive eating) and lesions to the LH caused aphagia (a complete cessation of eating) (Wickens, 2005). However, it was quickly realized that the hyperplasia of rats with lesioned
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Motivation and The Brain - Running head MOTIVATION AND THE...

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