Like many of my peers who have been posting on the blog recently, I believe that the interconnectedness of Psychology and Biology is highly beneficial and ultimately necessary in order to understand not only human behavior, but the functionality of the human body. An article that I recently read concerning the origins of hunger in the brain and the sensations associated with it, does well in showing the ways in which biology and psychology have become intertwined with one another.
The article discusses many things, among them the increasing rate of obesity in the US and the world and the negative implications this may have in the future. It also states that though we eat for nutrition, we look for food due to “hunger, with its stomach-growling sensations and gnawing pangs [which propel] us to the refrigerator.” And though hunger is natural and to be expected, it is excessive, or “abnormal hunger” as the article calls it, that leads us to eat more than is necessary and to eat when we are not hungry; in some cases even after we’ve just eaten. And though this seems to be a biological problem, it is the behavior of food seeking that causes it. And though behavior plays a big role in the cause of the problem, the solution can only be discovered upon understanding what causes the behavior to present itself in the first place. Something that requires understanding the biological basis of behavior. To do this researchers engineered a rabies virus to infect neurons expressing Agouti-peptide (AgRP) to find the origin of hunger in the brain. These neurons when stimulated, have been shown to produce food seeking activities and voracious eating habits in animal models. The rest of the article outlines the methods used by the researchers to map the neurons that were infected, which yielded the discovery that the activation of these neurons located in the paraventricular nucleus. Based on animal models they found that stimulating or inhibiting these neurons, and their subsets, produced food seeking behavior or suppressed it.
This article, in my opinion, is a great example of the interconnectedness between biology and psychology and how in order to truly understand human beings as a whole, we must look at not simply one or the other, but both to get the whole picture.
Here is the link to the article, I think you’d all like i very much: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140207132911.htm