Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Turning repulsive feelings into desires

Date:
February 6, 2013
Source:
University of Michigan
Summary:
Hunger, thirst, stress and drugs can create a change in the brain that transforms a repulsive feeling into a strong positive "wanting," a new study indicates.

Dead Sea salt formations. The research used salt appetite to show how powerful natural mechanisms of brain desires can instantly transform a cue that always predicted a repulsive Dead Sea Salt solution into an eagerly wanted beacon or motivational magnet.
Credit: © SeanPavonePhoto / Fotolia

Hunger, thirst, stress and drugs can create a change in the brain that transforms a repulsive feeling into a strong positive "wanting," a new University of Michigan study indicates.

The research used salt appetite to show how powerful natural mechanisms of brain desires can instantly transform a cue that always predicted a repulsive Dead Sea Salt solution into an eagerly wanted beacon or motivational magnet.

Mike Robinson, a research fellow in the U-M Department of Psychology and the study's lead author, said the findings help explain how related brain activations in people could cause them to avidly want something that has been always disliked.

This instant transformation of motivation, he said, lies in the ability of events to activate particular brain circuitry -- a structure called the nucleus accumbens, which sits near the base of the front of the brain and is also activated by addictive drugs.

Cues for rewards often trigger intense motivation. The smell of food can make a person suddenly feel hungry when this wasn't the case earlier. Drug cues may prompt relapse in addicts trying to quit. In some cases, desires may be triggered even for a relatively unpleasant event.

Researchers studied how rats responded to metal objects that represented either pleasant sugar or disgustingly intense Dead Sea saltiness. The rats quickly learned to jump on and nibble the sweetness cue, but turned away from and avoided the saltiness cue.

But one day the rats suddenly woke up in a new state of sodium appetite induced by drugs given the night before. On their first re-encounter with the saltiness cue in the new appetite state, their brain systems became activated and the rats instantly jumped on and nibbled the saltiness cue as though it were the sugar cue.

"The cue becomes avidly 'wanted' despite knowledge the salt always tasted disgusting," Robinson said.

The sudden brain changes help explain how an event, such as taking an addictive drug, could become "wanted" despite a person's knowledge of the negative and unpleasant consequences of the drug.

"Our findings highlight what it means to say that drugs hijack our natural reward system," said Robinson, who authored the new study with Kent Berridge, James Olds Collegiate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Michigan. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mike J.F. Robinson, Kent C. Berridge. Instant Transformation of Learned Repulsion into Motivational “Wanting”. Current Biology, 2013; DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2013.01.016

Cite This Page:

University of Michigan. "Turning repulsive feelings into desires." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130206162127.htm>.
University of Michigan. (2013, February 6). Turning repulsive feelings into desires. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130206162127.htm
University of Michigan. "Turning repulsive feelings into desires." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130206162127.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) — A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) — An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) — A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) — The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins