Discuss the Role of Neural Mechanisms in Controlling Eating and Satiation

  • Created by: Abbie
  • Created on: 16-05-11 11:02

Essay Question

Discuss the role of neural mechanisms in controlling eating and satiation (9 + 16)


  • Dual Centre Model of Feeding
  • All humans and mammals are homeostatic - run our bodies on constant state of balance
  • "Feeding" Centre in the brain activated when we are hungry
  • "Satiety" Centre in the brain activated when we are full
  • Hypothalamus in the brain regulates eating behaviour
  • Blood glucose levels drop or ghrelin levels increase - Lateral Hypothalamus is activated - feel hungry and eat
  • Blood glucose levels increase or ghrelin levels decrease - Ventromedial Hypothalamus is activated - feel full and stop eating 


  • Support - Heatherington and Ranson 1942
  • Lesions to the Ventromedial Hypothalamus caused rats to become obese
  • Lesions destroyed satiety centre - led to uncontrolled eating and an inibility to feel full
  • Ventromedial Hypathalamus normally activated when animal is full or satiated
  • Ventromedial Hypathalamus' function is to stop feeding
  • Support - Anand and Brobeck 1951
  • Lesioning to the Lateral Hypothalamus led to loss of feeding in rats - aphagia
  • Lesions damaged feeding centre - no longer activated when blood glucose levels decreased
  • Lateral Hypothalamus' normal function is to stimulate feeding and feelings of hunger


  • Extrapolation
  • Means - Research conducted on rats to explain human behaviour but humans are different to rats
  • Example - Humans are more complex and might react in a different way to having their hypothalamus lesioned in this way
  • Problem because - Findings cannot be generalised to human eating behaviour


  • Reductionism - Ignores research into the influence of biological rhythms
  • Means - Neurological mechanisms are more complex than just the dual centre model
  • Example - Rats are more active…




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thanks alot

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