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The Psychology of Ingestion: Appetite in Physiological and Animal Psychology

The Psychology of Ingestion: Appetite in Physiological and Animal Psychology

Chapter:
(p.152) Eight The Psychology of Ingestion: Appetite in Physiological and Animal Psychology
Source:
Appetite and Its Discontents
Author(s):
Elizabeth A. Williams
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226693187.003.0012

Chapter 8 discusses the rise of physiological and animal psychology in the later nineteenth century and explores how the “new” psychology took up questions about appetite and eating in ways previously excluded by the sciences of mind. French researchers, whose work remained closely tied to physiology and medicine, took the lead. Charles Richet, observing ingestion in a man with a gastric fistula, argued against mechanical explanations of hunger and held that merely seeing food could excite gastric secretion. He and others explored the roles played by the imagination and the search for pleasure in eating choices. The psycho-physiology of the “hunger artist,” a type of entertainer who staged voluntary performances of self-starvation, was investigated by the Italian physiologist Luigi Luciani, who accepted that the power of “autosuggestion” could influence physiological processes. Animal psychologists, both promoters and detractors of Darwinism, investigated the relative roles of instinct and intelligence in eating. Taking insects as a model of instinctive behavior, French entomologists, who were heavily influenced by gender stereotypes, reported the triumph, in female insects, of maternal over nutritive instincts. These disparate studies, although lacking agreed upon methods or problems, brought a new psychology of ingestion into being.

Keywords:   physiological psychology, animal psychology, Charles Richet, pleasure, Luigi Luciani, autosuggestion, insects, psychology of ingestion

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