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The pleasure system is built to ensure survival of the species, and careful neuroscientific research has identified many of the key brain circuits involved in the “wanting,” “liking,” and “satiety” phases of the pleasure cycle. Here the focus is on the “liking” phase, with the brain containing a set of interconnected hedonic hotspots and coldspots, which are involved in providing a pleasure gloss to experiences. Malfunctioning of the pleasure network can cause anhedonia, a key symptom of affective disorders. Finally, we discuss pleasure in the light of Aristotle’s distinction between “hedonia” (pleasure) and “eudaimonia” to suggest that eudaimonia could usefully be described as a brain state described as “meaningful pleasure”.



Book title

The Routledge International Handbook of Neuroaesthetics



Publication Date