Conclusions

Homeostatic processes can be analyzed in terms of control systems or servomechanisms, comprising a set point, an error signal, controlling elements, a controlled system, and feedback detectors. This approach has provided a convenient and precise language to describe both concepts and experimental results. Moreover, it has been successfully applied to temperature regulation, feeding, and drinking. For example, in the temperature regulation system, the integrator and many controlling elements appear to be located in the hypothalamus. The normal body temperature is the set point and the feedback detector collects information about body temperature from two main sources—peripheral and central temperatures. The analysis of feeding and thirst behaviors can also be approached in terms of a control system, as for temperature regulation, although at every level of analysis the understanding is less complete than for the control of temperature.

The hypothalamus is concerned with the regulation of various behaviors directed toward homeostatic goals, such as consumption of food and water or sexual gratifications. Through its control of emotions and motivated behavior, the hypothalamus acts indirectly in maintaining homeostasis by motivating animals and human beings to act on their environment.

In regulating emotional expression, the hypothalamus functions in conjunction with higher control systems in the limbic system and neocortex. In addition to regulating specific motivated behaviors, the hypothalamus and the cerebral cortex are involved in arousal, namely the maintenance of a general state of awareness (the level of arousal varies from different degrees of excitement to coma, sleep, and drowsiness). However, because of its intimate relationship with both the autonomic and the endocrine systems, the hypothalamus appears to play a central role in regulating homeostatic behaviors. The hypothalamus contributes to these adaptative behaviors by integrating information from both external and internal stimuli that report on the homeostatic state of the animal.

See Also the Following Articles

AROUSAL • ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE • BEHAVIORAL NEUROIMMUNOLOGY • BIOFEEDBACK • CIRCADIAN RHYTHMS • EMOTION • HYPOTHALAMUS • LIMBIC SYSTEM • NEUROTRANSMITTERS • PSYCHONEURO-ENDOCRINOLOGY • STRESS: HORMONAL AND NEURAL ASPECTS

Breaking Bulimia

Breaking Bulimia

We have all been there: turning to the refrigerator if feeling lonely or bored or indulging in seconds or thirds if strained. But if you suffer from bulimia, the from time to time urge to overeat is more like an obsession.

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