Beyond uncertainty: A broader scope for “incentive hope” mechanisms and its implications

Abstract

We propose that food-related uncertainty is but one of multiple cues that predicts harsh conditions and may activate “incentive hope.” An evolutionarily adaptive response to these would have been to shift to a behavioral-metabolic phenotype geared toward facing hardship. In modernity, this phenotype may lead to pathologies such as obesity and hoarding. Our perspective suggests a novel therapeutic approach.

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Shimon Edelman
Cornell University

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