Motivation pp 443-472 | Cite as

A Reevaluation of the Concept of the Homeostatic Organization of Temperature Regulation

  • Evelyn Satinoff


Instinctive and motivated behaviors that serve a regulatory function, such as temperature regulation, feeding, and drinking, involve the interaction of reflexive, hormonal, and operant responses integrated in the central nervous system. Traditionally such behaviors are interpreted within the framework of the concept of homeostasis, which implies that when an organism is in a need state, with some physiological deficit, its behavior will be directed toward diminishing the deficit— in other words, behavior is goal-directed. A goal can be thought of as some ideal state the animal is trying to achieve, and that, translated into modern control systems terminology, is equivalent to a setpoint. Since behavior is under nervous control, it has seemed reasonable to search for a setpoint analog somewhere in the brain, and the most likely neuroanatomical site has been the hypothalamus, since stimulation there elicits and lesions destroy entire patterns of goal-directed behaviors. This path of scientific research I shall call “whole” analysis of the neural substrates of motivated behavior. Its major assumption is that since behavior is integrated to achieve a goal, there must be an integrator in the brain responsible for it. In this view there are multiple inputs that inform the organism of what needs to be regulated at any particular time, and multiple regulatory effectors available to correct any errors.


Body Temperature Physiological Psychology Ground Squirrel Preoptic Area Neutral Zone 
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© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Evelyn Satinoff
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Program in Neural and Behavioral BiologyUniversity of IllinoisChampaignUSA

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