Why does the great male shrike kill bugs and poke them on thorns? Why is it so hard for humans to make the right choices? Douglas Lisle shows us how the answers are related. One of psychology’s most innovative and curious minds, Lisle is the Director of Research for TrueNorth Health Center and coauthor of The Pleasure Trap.



  • shed light on sth – make free from confusion or ambiguity; make clear
  • conscientious – wishing to do one’s work or duty well and thoroughly
  • poke – make (a hole) in something by prodding or jabbing at it
  • cue – a thing said or done that serves as a signal to an actor or other performer to enter or to begin their speech or performance
  • wiggle – move or cause to move up and down or from side to side with small rapid movements
  • show off – boastfully display one’s abilities or accomplishments
  • likelihood – the state or fact of something’s being likely; probability
  • wind up – arrive or end up in a specified state, situation, or place


Think about it

Answer the questions below. Pause at times indicated in brackets.

  • Why is Doug a psychologist rather than an artist? (0:45)
  • Why does the great male shrike kill bugs and poke them on thorns? (3:08)
  • Why does the bird behave the way he does? Does he have feelings of a sort? (4:44)
  • What are feelings? (6:37)
  • What is the motivational triad? What three components does it consist of?
  • Describe the two conditions under which the bird is tested. What is the rationale for his behavior? (9:05)
  • What may happen if we introduce an extraordinary object into an animal’s environment? (10:23)
  • Describe the first three phases of the dietary pleasure trap? (14:01)
  • How to move from phase four to five?
  • Describe all five phases of the dietary pleasure trap. Can you draw and describe the diagram that Doug presented?


Practice makes perfect

Fill in the blank spaces with the missing words. Use ONE word per blank space.

When you climb into a hot tub, it pays to edge ________ slowly. The water can be so hot ________ to be unpleasant—until you get ________ to it. Then it will feel pleasant. When you step into ________ swimming pool, the water sometimes feels cold. But after a few minutes, you get used to it. The scent of a Christmas tree or fragrant flowers is wonderful—________ first. But then you get used to it, and soon you may ________ even notice it.

How is it that our internal experience can change so dramatically, even when our environment is staying the same? How is it that we so easily “get used to” things? It turns ________ that scientists have carefully studied this striking phenomenon, which they refer ________ as neuroadaptation. This process is called “neuroadaptation” because it involves nerves and adaptation.

Our sensory processes are dependent ________ the activation of sensory nerves. It is through the activation of various sensory nerves ________ we are able to see, hear, smell, sense touch, and to taste. The activity of these various sensory nerves tells our brain what is going ________ , and ________ what degree of intensity. For example, when you are sitting in a dimly lit room, and you turn on more light, your visual nerves become more active. This causes you to notice an increase ________ brightness. Similarly, if you increase the volume ________ your stereo, your auditory nerves become more active. This same principle works for all of the five senses.

Answers: https://www.drfuhrman.com/library/article16.aspx


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