Constructing Craving: Applying the Theory of Constructed Emotion to Urge States

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Abstract

Craving (a strong desire to ingest a substance or engage in an activity) is an important topic of study in the field of psychology. Along with being a key symptom of addiction, craving is a potent source of motivation for a wide range of appetitive behaviors. In this article, I offer a perspective regarding the nature of craving that is rooted in the theory of constructed emotion, a contemporary model of how emotions are created by the brain. According to this perspective, a state of craving emerges when the brain makes predictions that categorize sensory inputs as an instance of craving on the basis of prior experience and the context in which the inputs occur. Using the theory of constructed emotion as a guiding framework, I review various lines of evidence that provide support for this idea. In addition, I offer recommendations for future research that stem from the hypothesis that instances of craving are constructed by the brain in an experience-dependent and situation-specific manner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-354
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Directions in Psychological Science
Volume31
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology(all)

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