New directions in modelling dysregulated reward seeking for food and drugs

Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2022 Jan:132:1037-1048. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2021.10.043. Epub 2021 Nov 2.


Behavioral models are central to behavioral neuroscience. To study the neural mechanisms of maladaptive behaviors (including binge eating and drug addiction), it is essential to develop and utilize appropriate animal models that specifically focus on dysregulated reward seeking. Both food and cocaine are typically consumed in a regulated manner by rodents, motivated by reward and homeostatic mechanisms. However, both food and cocaine seeking can become dysregulated, resulting in binge-like consumption and compulsive patterns of intake. The speakers in this symposium for the 2021 International Behavioral Neuroscience Meeting utilize behavioral models of dysregulated reward-seeking to investigate the neural mechanisms of binge-like consumption, enhanced cue-driven reward seeking, excessive motivation, and continued use despite negative consequences. In this review, we outline examples of maladaptive patterns of intake and explore recent animal models that drive behavior to become dysregulated, including stress exposure and intermittent access to rewards. Lastly, we explore select behavioral and neural mechanisms underlying dysregulated reward-seeking for both food and drugs.

Keywords: Addiction; Animal models; Behavioral economics; Binge; Binge eating disorder; Cocaine; Compulsive; Habitual; Maladaptive; Obesity; Orexin; Punishment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bulimia*
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Food
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations*
  • Reward


  • Pharmaceutical Preparations