Feeding Behavior Survival Circuit: Anticipation & Competition

Curr Opin Behav Sci. 2018 Dec;24:137-142. doi: 10.1016/j.cobeha.2018.09.007. Epub 2018 Sep 25.


A decision to eat or not to eat can be beneficial or detrimental to an organism, depending on internal and external conditions. Because feeding is essential for survival, as it replenishes energy and nutrients, in safe environments, its expression is prioritized over other behaviors. Under threat, responding to danger is a higher priority for survival and feeding is paused even in hungry states. Thus, successful expression of feeding behavior requires adaptive control that utilizes cognitive processes to dynamically assess and update internal drives and environmental changes. Recently identified key circuit components, which are important in anticipatory responding based on food memories and predictions and in resolving feeding versus threat avoidance competition, will be discussed within a connectional schema.

Keywords: amygdala; feeding behavior; food consumption; hypothalamus; learning; memory; neural network; prefrontal cortex; thalamus; threat.