The role of neural mechanisms in eating

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The hypothalamus is the hunger centre of the brain. The ventromedial hypothalamus and the lateral hypothalamus feature in the dual control theory and set point theory. The hypothalamus is part of the limbic system, linking the nervous system to the endocrine system. It acts like a 'thermostat' to initiate or stop eating behaviour.

Dual control theory

This theory is a homeostatic view of hunger and satiety. When glucose levels fall, the lateral hypothalamus is activated, causing hunger and motivating a person to eat, which releases glucose. This activates the ventromedial hypothalamus, leading to a feelign of satiety and eating stops.

  • Hetherington and Ranson (1940) found that lesions in the ventromedial hypothalamus lead to overeating and weight gain.
  • Anad and Brobecl (1951) found that leisions in the lateral hypothalamus lead to


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