Attenuation of brain stimulation self-starvation: Adaptation effects

Rebecca M. Santos, Aryeh Routtenberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Rats first trained for 10-15 days to bar-press for lateral hypothalamic brain stimulation while feeding ad lib and then for 17-18 days to maintain weight by eating in a Skinner box under a 22.75-hr food deprivation schedule demonstrate a preference for brain stimulation when food and brain stimulation are simultaneously available. This maladaptive behavior has been called "self-starvation." If the experimental procedure is modified so that in addition to the training in self-stimulation and feeding the animals are given daily a 1.25-hr self-stimulation session and immediately before or after the self-stimulation session a 1.25-hr feeding period for eight days prior to brain stimulation food competition, animals do not meet self-starvation criteria. Moreover when self-starvation has been demonstrated it can be attenuated in a second brain stimulaion food competition preceded by the eight-day alternate feeding and self-stimulation phase of the modified procedure. The attenuating effect of this manipulation of procedure is discussed in terms of adaptation to stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)831-837
Number of pages7
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1972


  • Adaptation
  • Food deprivation
  • Hypothalamus
  • Self-starvation
  • Self-stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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