Food-motivated behavior in rats with cortico-basomedial amygdala damage

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In 6 experiments, 12 male Wistar rats with cortico-basomedial amygdala damage (CBM) and 20 sham-operated controls were tested in several food-related situations. The CBM Ss showed a longer latency to eat than controls in a novel environment due to more pronounced exploration. In the competition for food, CBM Ss lost 85% of encounters with controls. Immediately after the contest, when allowed to eat singly, CBM Ss displayed a higher persistence of alimentary responses to an emptied cup than did controls, presumably because they experienced more losses in the food competition. Both groups were equally able to overcome obstacles on the way to food, which suggested similar alimentary motivation. The only direct indication of a lowered responsiveness to hunger in CBM Ss was 24-hr fasting-induced hypophagia. Results indicate the involvement of the cortico-basomedial amygdaloid region in the control of relations between alimentary and other motivations. The contribution of eventual changes of food motivation in the postoperative alteration of this balance is discussed. (30 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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