Regulation of the Motivation to Eat

  • Stephen C. WoodsEmail author
  • Denovan P. Begg
Part of the Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences book series (CTBN, volume 27)


Although food intake is necessary to provide energy for all bodily activities, considering food intake as a motivated behavior is complex. Rather than being a simple unconditioned reflex to energy need, eating is mediated by diverse factors. These include homeostatic signals such as those related to body fat stores, to food available and being eaten, and to circulating energy-rich compounds like glucose and fatty acids. Eating is also greatly influenced by non-homeostatic signals that convey information related to learning and experience, hedonics, stress, the social situation, opportunity, and many other factors. Recent developments identifying the intricate nature of the relationships between homeostatic and non-homeostatic influences significantly add to the complexity underlying the neural basis of the motivation to eat. The future of research in the field of food intake would seem to lie in the identification of the neural circuitry and interactions between homeostatic and non-homeostatic influences.


Adipose tissue Adiposity signal Agouti-related protein Allostasis Amygdala Anorexia nervosa 


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral NeuroscienceUniversity of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA
  2. 2.School of PsychologyUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia

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