It was hard to miss this news over the weekend, as it was picked up by almost every news outlet in the universe: see this simple google search:
In what can only be characterized as a rather “cruel” study, where 23 male and female “volunteers” were “starved” for 17 hours. Then, they were asked, what their most favorite food might be.
The researchers then prepared that food, say a big stack of barbecued ribs, and then waived it in front of the “subjects,” taunting them.
… It gets worse. Then they, took a cotton swab and dipped it into the food and let the “subjects” taste just the flavor of the food.
Meanwhile, they had injected some nuclear tracer into the “subjects” (I hesitate to call them volunteers any longer) and monitored their brain activity on a PET scanner.
Not surprisingly, the brain activity set off bells and whistles like a pin ball machine at a dive bar, and in particular “in the orbital frontal cortex, which is linked to self-control; the striatum, which is linked to motivation; the hippocampus, which is linked to memory; and the amygdala, which is linked to powerful emotions.”
Then the researcher, Dr. Gene-Jack Wang, asked each subject to try and suppress their craving for the food, and it is here where the key findings of the study emerged.
Apparently men were much better at disciplining their amygdalas.
Dr. Wang was impressed. “It takes a lot of inhibition to control the amygdala,” he said.
I am not.
I believe Dr. Wang (ironically named) is simply looking in the wrong place.
While we may be better at disciplining the amygdalas in our brain when it comes to food; I wonder what the study would have revealed had it focused on a different “craving” and the “amygdalas” that most men keep in their pants.
And I wonder if we couldn’t spend our time doing brain research on subjects of a more importance.