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The Interdisciplinary Science of Consumption$
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Stephanie D. Preston, Morten L. Kringelbach, and Brian Knutson

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262027670

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262027670.001.0001

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Incentive Salience in Addiction and Over-Consumption

Incentive Salience in Addiction and Over-Consumption

(p.185) 10 Incentive Salience in Addiction and Over-Consumption
The Interdisciplinary Science of Consumption

Michael J. F. Robinson

Terry E. Robinson

Kent C. Berridge

The MIT Press

Incentive salience (‘wanting’) normally provides an ‘oomph’ that spurs attention to and motivation for objects of desire. But when amplified excessively by brain mesolimbic sensitization, a set of neurobiological changes that increase the reactivity of dopamine-related brain systems, ‘wanting’ can have pathological intensity, leading to the kind of compulsive ‘wanting’ associated with impulse control disorders, such as addiction. A stimulus attributed with excessive incentive salience may trigger an overwhelming urge to consume its related reward. Sensitization of its underlying neural systems can make rewards and their cues powerful triggers of craving and instigate seeking behavior, and similar changes in the brain may possibly occur spontaneously in certain binge-eating disorders and in some other compulsive pursuits of incentives. Selective surges in ‘wanting’ spurred on by environmental triggers can explain why, under these conditions, rewards can be ‘wanted’ much more than they are ‘liked’. The incentive sensitization theory provides an explanation for the compulsive pursuit and over-consumption of addictive incentives

Keywords:   Incentive Salience, Sensitization, Addiction, Wanting, Liking, Dopamine, Reward, Motivation, Pleasure

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