Theoretical and Review Articles

Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 239-249

First online:

Activity-based anorexia: Ambient temperature has been a neglected factor

  • Emilio GutiérrezAffiliated withDepartamento de Psicología Clínica y Psicobiología, Facultad de Psicología, Universidad de Santiago Email author 
  • , Reyes VázquezAffiliated withUNED Pontevedra
  • , R. A. BoakesAffiliated withUniversity of Sydney


Activity-based anorexia refers to the self-starvation of rats exposed to experimental conditions that combine restricted access to food with access to an activity wheel. This paper compares previous studies of this phenomenon in relation to the ambient temperatures (AT) that were employed. On this basis, and from some more direct evidence, we argue that AT is an important, but neglected, factor in activity-based anorexia research. More attention to AT is needed in future research, since its neglect threatens the validity of conclusions drawn from those studies. Furthermore, direct examination of the effect of AT on activity-based anorexia will allow a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying this phenomenon and the possible clinical implications for the treatment of human anorexia nervosa.