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J Vis Exp. 2014 Mar 19;(85). doi: 10.3791/51281.

Studying food reward and motivation in humans.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge; Metabolic Research Laboratories, Wellcome Trust-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science, University of Cambridge; Cambridgeshire & Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, University of Cambridge; hz238@cam.ac.uk.
2
Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge.
3
West Anglia Comprehensive Local Research Network, Addenbrooke's Hospital.
4
Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge; Metabolic Research Laboratories, Wellcome Trust-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science, University of Cambridge.
5
Metabolic Research Laboratories, Wellcome Trust-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science, University of Cambridge.
6
Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge; Metabolic Research Laboratories, Wellcome Trust-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science, University of Cambridge; Cambridgeshire & Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, University of Cambridge.

Abstract

A key challenge in studying reward processing in humans is to go beyond subjective self-report measures and quantify different aspects of reward such as hedonics, motivation, and goal value in more objective ways. This is particularly relevant for the understanding of overeating and obesity as well as their potential treatments. In this paper are described a set of measures of food-related motivation using handgrip force as a motivational measure. These methods can be used to examine changes in food related motivation with metabolic (satiety) and pharmacological manipulations and can be used to evaluate interventions targeted at overeating and obesity. However to understand food-related decision making in the complex food environment it is essential to be able to ascertain the reward goal values that guide the decisions and behavioral choices that people make. These values are hidden but it is possible to ascertain them more objectively using metrics such as the willingness to pay and a method for this is described. Both these sets of methods provide quantitative measures of motivation and goal value that can be compared within and between individuals.

PMID:
24686284
PMCID:
PMC4153444
DOI:
10.3791/51281
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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