It’s no surprise that cigarettes are harder to quit than heroin. We’ve heard the stats and arguments about this before multiple times by now. But are other guilty pleasures just as addictive-like, say, chocolate?
Italian researchers set out to discover just how much compulsive behavior plays a role in eating disorders. Rossella Ventura, leader of the research team at the Santa Lucia Foundation in Rome, took two sets of mice – the experimental group was starved (which we approve) while the control was fed normally (which we don’t approve as much) – and trained them to choose between two chambers in a maze. The first chamber was empty while the second had a bit of chocolate inside. Once this conditioning was established, they added a mild electric shock to the chocolate room.
They then allowed the starved mice to eat their way back to normal weight and let both sets into the maze. The mice that had been well-fed throughout experienced the shock and quickly learned to avoid the chocolate chamber (awww). The previously starved mice, on the other hand, fought through the pain in pursuit of the chocolate (sort of yay), despite the fact that they were now being fed adequately elsewhere.
Ventura believes this willingness to ignore negative consequences in pursuit of food even when there is no great need for it demonstrates part of the behavior components that underlie eating disorders in humans and animals. Frankly, we at SG don’t care if they’ve got bulimia or boo-urnslimia. This is information that we can use in our great war against nature, and boy oh boy, is it good information. Can we suggest attempting the experiment on a larger scale, but then incorporate flamethrowers rather than just electric shocks? Oh, and just starve all the animals in this large scale experiment?
Don’t judge me-we’re at war, people.