Hypothalamically induced intraspecific aggressive behaviour in the rat

Exp Brain Res. 1978 Jul 14;32(3):365-75. doi: 10.1007/BF00238708.


The effects of electrical stimulation of the lateral hypothalamus (LH) of rats on intraspecific aggressive behaviour were studied. In order to investigate the specificity of the stimulation effects, each experimental animal was stimulated in a number of different social situations. Stimulation of the LH in the presence of a subordinate male increased the amount of time spent on aggressive behaviour patterns and locomotion. In the presence of a dominant male, however, the stimulated animal never initiated a fight, whereas in the presence of an estrous female attack occurred in some rare occasions and sexual behaviour disappeared almost entirely. Stimulation of some sites also elicited mouse killing behaviour. Many of the electrodes that elicited intraspecific aggressive behaviour also supported intracranial self-stimulation. It is concluded that 1. electrical stimulation of this area of the LH predominantly potentiates intraspecific aggressive behaviour, 2. that this behaviour becomes overt depends on the external situation, including the behaviour of the opponent.

MeSH terms

  • Aggression / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Dominance-Subordination
  • Drinking
  • Eating
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamus / physiology*
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Self Stimulation / physiology
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / physiology