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Morten L. Kringelbach

D.Phil.

Associate Professor and Senior Research Fellow

  • Professor of Neuroscience, Aarhus Univ.
  • Senior Research Fellow, The Queen's College
Research Summary

My research goal is to understand pleasure in the human brain. Apart from being a lot of fun, this is important since it may offer us novel and more effective ways to treat anhedonia, the lack of pleasure, which is a major component of affective disorders.

In my research group, Hedonia: Transnational Research Group, we use a range of behavioural, neuroimaging, neurosurgical and computational methods to investigate the many facets of pleasure in health and disease. I am interested in the fundamental pleasures afforded by food, sex and social interactions, which are central to survival, but I am also interested in higher order pleasures such as music and art which have strong links to eudaimonia, the meaningful and engaging life. In particular we are investigating the neural mechanisms of music as part of the newly established Music in Brain centre at Aarhus University, funded by the Danish National Research Foundation.

Infants are a focus of my research and especially how their sounds, looks and smells strongly influence the adult brain. The ERC is funding our research to better understand the parent-infant relationship which may also help to shape the way we can intervene when things go awry, e.g. in sleep deprivation or post-natal depression.

Another main focus is understanding and modelling how pleasure systems are fundamental in the dynamic allocation of brain resources. As we have come to understand more of the delicate balance and transitions between different brain states, we can now directly rebalance and recalibrate brain networks through deep brain stimulation. We are also building computational models that allows us further probe and understand the human brain in health and disease.

When pleasure systems become unbalanced, it can be very difficult to rebalance the brain. One of my main interests is to help advance our understanding of the effects of war and disaster for which we have setup Scars of War Foundation at The Queen's College. One current project is investigating the brain changes related to post-traumatic stress-disorder in war veterans.

Overall, the time is now ripe for modern neuroscience to study the many faces of pleasure, opening up for new treatments and perhaps even better lives. 

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Key Publications

7

Recent Publications

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