Liking vs. wanting food: importance for human appetite control and weight regulation.

Biopsychology Group, Institute of Psychological Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK.
Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews (Impact Factor: 10.28). 02/2007; 31(7):987-1002. DOI: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2007.03.004
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Current train of thought in appetite research is favouring an interest in non-homeostatic or hedonic (reward) mechanisms in relation to overconsumption and energy balance. This tendency is supported by advances in neurobiology that precede the emergence of a new conceptual approach to reward where affect and motivation (liking and wanting) can be seen as the major force in guiding human eating behaviour. In this review, current progress in applying processes of liking and wanting to the study of human appetite are examined by discussing the following issues: How can these concepts be operationalised for use in human research to reflect the neural mechanisms by which they may be influenced? Do liking and wanting operate independently to produce functionally significant changes in behaviour? Can liking and wanting be truly experimentally separated or will an expression of one inevitably contain elements of the other? The review contains a re-examination of selected human appetite research before exploring more recent methodological approaches to the study of liking and wanting in appetite control. In addition, some theoretical developments are described in four diverse models that may enhance current understanding of the role of these processes in guiding ingestive behaviour. Finally, the implications of a dual process modulation of food reward for weight gain and obesity are discussed. The review concludes that processes of liking and wanting are likely to have independent roles in characterising susceptibility to weight gain. Further research into the dissociation of liking and wanting through implicit and explicit levels of processing would help to disclose the relative importance of these components of reward for appetite control and weight regulation.

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