Motivational Effects of Brain Stimulation and Drugs
This chapter illustrates the value of using objective behavioral techniques to study the effects of brain stimulation and of drugs. It shows how a variety of behavioral tests have been used to analyze the effects of electrical and chemical stimulation of the brain. One wonders whether the stimulation elicited a general motivation of hunger or only a specific gnawing reflex. E. E. Coons and N. E. Miller have conducted a series of experiments to determine whether similar eating elicited by electrically stimulating the hypothalamus of satiated rats is a specific gnawing reflex or has all of the properties of normal hunger. Stimulation in the general region of the hypothalamus will cause eating which is called “stimulus-bound” because it starts promptly after the onset and stops promptly after the offset of the electrical stimulation of the brain. Normal hunger will elicit not only eating, but also learned food-seeking responses.