Motivation As It Relates to Cigarette Addiction, the Five-Factor Model, and Homeostasis

Explain in detail the formal concept of homeostatic regulation. Additionally, give in detail, two applied examples of the concept. 

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Homeostasis is the internal balance that the body maintains in order to facilitate normal corporal functions, such as blood glucose levels, intra, and extracellular fluid levels, body temperature, and salt concentrations (Deckers, 2005). The negative feedback system acts as a self-correcting process, which bridges the gap between the desired state and an actual state. For instance, the human body maintains a constant internal temperature, void any infection or biological abnormalities, of an average of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. If our body heat deviates too far above this temperature (hyperthermia) the body compensates by opening epidermal pores, sweating, and rerouting blood flow to the skin, in order to expend heat. On the other hand, if our body temperature drops below the homeostatic level (hypothermia) the autonomic nervous system compensates by causing us to shiver, restrict blood circulation to the epidermis, and blood vessels on the epidermis contract. As another example of the body’s homeostatic tendencies, the boundary model of hunger attempts to explain the psychological and physiological mechanisms of hunger and satiety. According to this theory, rather than a single set-point, the homeostatic balance of energy in the body is governed by a dual upper and lower boundary, with the intermediary area comprising a zone of biological indifference—homeostasis. When a person exceeds the upper boundary of the model feelings of satiety ensue, such as the subjective feeling of a full stomach. However, when the lower boundary is breached aversive feelings of hunger are engaged, such as weakness and the feeling of an empty stomach. Collectively, these two theories of homeostasis explain that the body operates on a dual boundary model of regulation, with a homeostatic neutral zone encompassing the intermediary. Lastly, another homeostatic process of the body is the regulation of salt concentrations in the body, which is closely linked with the regulation of fluid levels. As an example, Deckers (2005) quotes an experiment in which the adrenal gland of a rat was removed, resulting in death in approximately two weeks. The adrenal gland controls salt concentrations in the body and without it, the rat excreted excessive amounts of salt in its urine. The milieu interieur of the body is maintained by a conglomerate of biological processes, which collectively control bodily homeostasis.            

Describe in detail the brain structures involved in biological as well as behavior cigarette addiction. In addition to your base answer, use examples to illustrate your answer. 

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Building on the homeostatic foundation of the last section, the opponent-process theory of drug addictions explains the hedonic, as well as physiological, effects of nicotine addiction. The mesolimbic dopamine system, a section of the middle brain which uses dopamine as a neurotransmitter, is one of the pleasure centers of the brain. Many drugs act to increase the release of dopamine or inhibit the reuptake thereof, thereby increasing the hedonic effects of nicotine. However, according to the opponent-process theory an opponent, the homeostatic process begins when dopamine production is increased in the mesolimbic dopamine system. This process acts to correct the dopamine imbalance and usually outlasts the positive effects of the drug. The opponent-process is perceived subjectively as withdrawal symptoms. This physiological, homeostatic process creates a psychological drive for the acquisition and continuation of drug use. Furthermore, the continued use of nicotine only strengthens the process, which can lead to drug tolerance. For example, if someone wanted to stop smoking it would not be best to stop “cold turkey” because they would have to contend with the opponent’s physiological process as well as the psychological stress. It would be better to stop gradually in order to moderate the negative effects of drug cessation. In addition to the physiological incentive created by the opponent process of addiction, the psychological motive to reduce stress is also a component of nicotine addiction. Nicotine can act as a coping mechanism for the moderation of stress, presumably because it releases dopamine in the pleasure centers of the brain, but also for its social and habitual advantages. Deckers (2005) cited a study in which stress was increased at low levels and another group at high levels. The group that had stress increased at higher levels reported more intense cravings for their drug of choice. As a personal example, my mother started smoking when she was 13, back when cigarettes were “good for you”. She stopped smoking when I was 15, but then I was severely injured during a football accident. My mother had not smoked for 6 months, and even the smell of smoke made her sick. However, the stress of having her son hurt so badly was too much and she went back to smoking. In all, the motivation to continue drug use is controlled by the physiological mechanisms of the opponent-process theory, as moderated by the psychological motive to relieve stress.    

How does the Five-Factor Model of Personality relate to motivation? Explain your answer. 

The Five-Factor Model of Personality seeks to put all possible human personality into five dichotomous dimensions: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. These dimensions are dichotomous in that they are made up of a spectrum of traits. For instance, extraversion includes quiet, reserved, and shy at one end, and active, assertive, and dominant at the other end; openness includes shallow, simple, and unintelligent at one end, and artistic, clever, and curious at the other end; conscientiousness includes careless, disorderly, and forgetful at one end, and cautious, deliberate, and dependable at the other end; agreeableness includes cold, cruel, and unfriendly at one end, and affectionate, cooperative, and friendly at the other end; and neuroticism includes calm, contented, unemotional at one end, and anxious, emotional, and moody at the other end. Personality is the product of heritable temperament and socio-environmental factors. As evidence for the heritability of personality several studies have shown that the correlation of personality traits between monozygotic twins is much higher than dizygotic twins. Nevertheless, the effect of the environment can never be discounted, even in twin studies. A tendency towards extraversion can create psychological motivations, such as the need for social interaction and an aversion to being alone. On the other hand, the other end of this dimension, introversion, can create a psychological motivation to avoid social interaction and to moderate boredom through solitary endeavors. Social interactions are necessary no matter our personality, so it is no surprise that people who report more happiness also score high on extraversion. In short, high marks on extraversion create an incentive to seek out social interaction and introversion creates an incentive to seek solitude. Furthermore, low conscientiousness is highly correlated with risky behaviors, disorganization, carelessness, and the absence of goal direction. Likewise, low agreeableness is highly correlated with risky behavior, as well as a tendency to communicate less about unsafe sex and the use of dirty needles. High openness is linked to a preference towards classical, jazz, New Age, and folk-ethnic music and an aversion to soundtrack music. The point is that personality traits “choose” incentives for the expression of behavior and therefore motivation.       

Compare and contrast any two perspectives (theories) of motivation as they would apply to each of the following:

A) Hunger

B) Thirst (111-113)

C) Sexual Behavior

The James-Lange theory of emotion claims that emotions are the direct result of physiological responses, rather than the physiological response being the result of emotion. For instance, the emotion of sadness is initiated as a result of crying…happy incited as a result of smiling…contentment the consequence of a prolonged sigh of relief. In this vein of thought, the sensations of hunger and satiety are caused by the physical act of eating or fasting. I know that this theory was not specifically applied to hunger, thirst, and sexual behavior, but there appears to be some overlap. This could partially explain the psychological drive to eat, even when the physiological need for food has abated. Rather than hunger is caused by low blood glucose levels, blood glucose levels are controlled by the psychological mechanism of hunger (Pinel, 2007). Going back to the idea of homeostasis, eating causes a severe imbalance in blood glucose because of the influx of calories. According to this idea, the body empties the blood of glucose before eating, thereby causing the sensation of hunger, in order to accommodate the anticipated caloric intake. The same could hold true for thirst. The neurological perception of thirst can sometimes be the result of the anticipation of water. Furthermore, the anticipation of sexual behavior can mediate the sensation of sexual arousal. In sum, the James-Lange theory of motivation, as applied to hunger, thirst, and sexual behavior, postulates that anticipation of eating, drinking, and sexual activity can actually cause the sensations thereof. 

Conversely, the opponent-process theory of motivation would take the opposite view—that the hedonic pleasures of eating, when assuaged, leave only the negative opponent process of hunger. This theory hinges on the idea of homeostasis as well and lines up quite nicely with the James-Lange theory of motivation in that way. As the body preempts the anticipated caloric intake a process is started which does not end when eating ends. After the positive affective sensation of eating wears off the feeling of satiety sets in. Now, speaking from a psychological rather than physiological perspective, this could account for obesity. The pleasures of eating have worn off and all that remains is the contentment of satiety. The opponent-process of satiety could act to reinforce the need to eat in order to regain the hedonic value of caloric intake. In the same way, thirst could be accounted for by a lack of hedonic pleasure that comes from drinking water and sexual behavior could be explained as a lack of hedonic pleasure that accompanies the sexual activity.   


Deckers, L. (2005). Motivation: Biological, psychological, and environmental, Second Edition. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon. 

Pinel, J.J. (2007). Basics of biopsychology. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Paper Topic

Download final examination (which will be posted to the Course Room Materials on Thursday of Week 5), answer it in very good detail, and post the completed document in your Individual Forum.

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