The role of the hypothalamus in aggressive behavior remains unclear. The heightened rage elicited in decorticate cats1-3 by the application of sensory stimuli is often characterized as sham rage or as a pseudoaffective response. The failure of the animals to show a directed attack, which was thought attributable to decortication, left open the question of the character of the response. Masserman10 found in intact cats that electrical stimulation of the hypothalamus produced patterns expressive of rage, which despite the presence of the cortex failed to culminate in directed attack. He concluded that the hypothalamus plays a minimal role in affective experience and behavior.
The question is in respect to the role that the hypothalamus plays in the perceptual and emotional part of the reaction. There is general agreement that the hypothalamus integrates the muscular and glandular responses which accompany aggression.
Hess and Brügger,6 Hunsperger,7 and Nakao,
WASMAN M, FLYNN JP. Directed Attack Elicited from Hypothalamus. Arch Neurol. 1962;6(3):220–227. doi:10.1001/archneur.1962.00450210048005
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