Lateral Hypothalamus: Learning of Food-Seeking Response Motivated by Electrical Stimulation
Stimulation of the lateral hypothalamus, which induces eating, resembles hunger in that it motivates rats to learn, for food reward, a response of pressing a bar. Electrical stimulation of the lateral hypothalamus (ESLH), which causes satiated animals to eat, resembles in effect the hunger normally produced by deprivation of food in that it also motivates them to perform a response that they previously had learned as a way of getting food. Various experiments have shown that a food-seeking response learned in a state of hunger from deprivation can transfer to an ESLH-induced “hunger” state. If the effects of ESLH resemble normal hunger, shifting the reward of food to another response, after one response has been learned and has become dominant, should cause the first response to be extinguished and a new response to be learned.