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date: 07 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The term “hoarding” in humans has different connotations than in nonhuman animals. In humans, the term refers to a pathological behavior associated with a clinical disorder—the subject of the current volume. In nonhuman animals, hoarding refers to an adaptive behavior used to distribute food over space and time, ensuring constant access despite variation in the supply, or in the face of competition. By removing these interspecific and taxonomic walls, we may better understand multiple facets of human behavior including excessive hoarding. Normal human behavior involves many forms of hoarding that are not only adaptive, but key to our very success and survival. Across species, hoarding behavior also shares commonalities that suggest the behavior is actually homologous between humans and rodents. For example, across modern and ecological contexts, hoarding is a risk-averse response to perceived shortages, uncertainty, or threat, which is proximately linked to physiological stress or anxiety and the extended mesolimbocortical system (e.g., orbital frontal cortex, ventral striatum, hypothalamus). Taking a wider, more interdisciplinary and ecological view of hoarding can inform our understanding of the behavior in ways that change our perception of many human behaviors while blurring the lines of distinction across mammalian species.

Keywords: Hoarding, animals, caching, frontal cortex, ventral striatum, glucocorticoids

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