Obesity is, in part, a result of positive energy balance or energy intake exceeding physiological needs. Excess energy intake is determined by a series of food choices over time. These choices involve both motivational and executive function processes. Problems arise when there is excessive motivation to eat and low impulse control, a situation we have termed reinforcement pathology. Motivational and executive function processes have also been implicated in the development of drug dependence and addiction. In this review we discuss the application of reinforcement pathology to obesity, and implications of this approach for obesity treatment.
Keywords: Behavioral economics, delay discounting, impulsivity, obesity, reinforcement pathology, reinforcing value, dopamine, drug dependence, dual systems hypothesis, behavioral intervention
Rights & PermissionsPrintExport