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Biological Factors and Feeding Behaviors - Essay Example

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Biological factors have been proven as preconditions or progenitors of actions. This is true in all animals and the human species. Specific body parts and their functions, including the chemical reactions that transpire within a body - they control behaviors. …
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Biological Factors and Feeding Behaviors
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Download file to see previous pages They serve as both motivations and coercive forces that affect judgment, decision-making and the series of actions they trigger. A specific example, which this paper will investigate, is the feeding behavior. For this purpose, an explanation of behavior will be provided and an outline of several evidences that will support the claim that biological factors control feeding behaviors. Anatomy of Behavior In order to better outline the relationship of biological factors to feeding behavior, it is important to understand what behavior is. Cohn and MacPhail (1996) stressed that in order to do this; one must be able to answer four questions involving: 1. Causation, which refers the internal and external stimuli, processes, and contingencies that precede the behavior of interest; 2. Ontogeny, which is the development of behavior over the lifetime of an individual and mediated by the complex interaction between genetic and environmental factors; 3. Evolution or the changes in behavioral processes across generations; and, 4. Function, which is all about questions of adaptation. (p. 299) Now, the first two questions are considered proximate and ultimate questions that are tied to the biological factors' role in behavior. These two are almost universal because they are true to almost all animals. The occurrence and types of behavior, wrote Cohn and MacPhail, are generally species specific but that there are commonalities in the areas of basic activities such as survival and feeding behavior. (p. 299) A research by Legendre et al. (1994) revealed that the evolutionary characteristic of behavior and the human brain could be depicted or predicted through a model that involves diet or eating patterns along with variables such as sociability and locomotion. (p. 1487) Behavior, hence, is characterized by numerous and diverse causes and a number of which are biological factors. Feeding is particularly important in this area because it is primarily biologically driven. Crucial to this point is the role played by the hypothalamus, the brain organ responsible for biological motivation. If a person suffers an injury and then began to eat voraciously, then his hypothalamus might be affected, particularly the ventromedial section, which functions as the satiety center. (Hakala, 2009, p. 85) If it were damaged, the brain would be incapable to tell the person that he is full because no signal is being transmitted and, thus, he will continue to eat. If an injury affects the lateral hypothalamus, it will result in a sharp downturn in the individual’s motivation to eat and he will not feel the motivated to eat or motivated to eat. (Hakala, p. 85) This point is explained further in the following section. Feeding Behaviors Feeding is an action that involves an array of variables. First, there is the concept of need as food is necessary for survival. The fundamental fact is that it is required by a living body to function and continue living. Most activities need energy and health that can only be gained through food intake. (Snooks, 2009, p. 122) Hunger is a simple example about how the body can command an individual to take action, more specifically to eat. As the energy is depleted and used up by daily activities, the need to eat emerges. This process works within the so-called biological control systems. According to Bloom these operate by allowing a gradual change of state to occur until a critical level is reached, the point wherein a behavioral or psychological correction mechanism is initiated. (p. 21) So when someone used up all his energy, then feeding or the need to eat becomes apparent. A study undertaken by Elliot and Treat back in 1935 is one of the earliest studies to demonstrate this. In their findings, the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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