The afferent modulation of the central nervous mechanisms regulating conscious behaviour is discussed, and compared to the effects of afferent and brain stem stimulation on the emotional behaviour of diencephalic origin. The electroencephalographic synchronization and sleep induced by stimulating the carotid sinus baroceptors in encéphale isolé or intact animals is paralleled by the inhibition of the spontaneous sham rage outbursts of the decorticate cat by natural baroceptive stimulation; on the other hand, the carotid body chemoceptors do not only exert an arousing action, but are also capable of precipitating sham rage fits in the decorticate cat. As in encéphale isolé or intact animals suitably timed reticular stimuli may induce either desynchronization and arousal, or synchronization and sleep, likewise rage fits may either be evoked or inhibited by electrical stimulation within the reticular formation. Finally, the rage behaviour of the decorticate cat depends, like cortical desynchronization and wakefulness in intact animals, upon a tonic background of ascending reticular activity. It is suggested that identical, or closely related, mechanisms may affect both conscious alert behaviour and several somatic and visceral activities, such as those subserving emotional behaviour.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology