Abstract
Food uncertainty has the effect of invigorating food-related responses. Psychologists have noted that mammals and birds respond more to a conditioned stimulus that unreliably predicts food delivery, and ecologists have shown that animals consume and/or hoard more food and can get fatter when access to that resource is unpredictable. Are these phenomena related? We think they are. Psychologists have proposed several mechanistic interpretations, while ecologists have suggested a functional interpretation: The effect of unpredictability on fat reserves and hoarding behavior is an evolutionary strategy acting against the risk of starvation when food is in short supply. Both perspectives are complementary, and we argue that the psychology of incentive motivational processes can shed some light on the causal mechanisms leading animals to seek and consume more food under uncertainty in the wild. Our theoretical approach is in agreement with neuroscientific data relating to the role of dopamine, a neurotransmitter strongly involved in incentive motivation, and its plausibility has received some explanatory and predictive value with respect to Pavlovian phenomena. Overall, we argue that the occasional and unavoidable absence of food rewards has motivational effects that facilitate foraging effort. We show that this hypothesis is computationally tenable, leading foragers in an unpredictable environment to consume more food items and to have higher long-term energy storage than foragers in a predictable environment.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1017/s0140525x18000948
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 72,577
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

View all 7 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Seeking Food Justice.Laura M. Hartman - 2013 - Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology 67 (4):396-409.
Insights From Ifaluk: Food Sharing Among Cooperative Fishers.Richard Sosis - 2004 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (4):568-569.
Incentive Motivation: Just Extraversion?Marvin Zuckerman - 1999 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (3):539-540.
Just Food: Philosophy, Justice and Food.Jill Marie Dieterle (ed.) - 2015 - Rowman & Littlefield International.
Moral Uncertainty and Fetishistic Motivation.Andrew Sepielli - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (11):2951-2968.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2018-03-09

Total views
16 ( #671,246 of 2,533,623 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #389,998 of 2,533,623 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes