Article

The Neurobiology of Pleasure and Happiness

Morten L. Kringelbach and Kent C. Berridge

in Oxford Handbook of Neuroethics

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199570706
Published online November 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199570706.013.0018

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 The Neurobiology of Pleasure and Happiness

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This article focuses on the substantial progress in understanding the psychology and neurobiology of sensory pleasure that has been made over the last decade. The link between pleasure and happiness has a long history in psychology. The growing evidence for the importance of affect in psychology and neuroscience shows a scientific account that involves hedonic pleasures and displeasures. A neurobiological understanding is required of how positive and negative effects are balanced in the brain. The article surveys developments in understanding brain mechanisms of pleasure. It identifies a number of brain regions that are important in the brain's hedonic networks, and speculated on potential interaction with eudaimonic networks. The scientific study of pleasure and affect demonstrates the evolution of emotions and affective expressions, and suggests that these are adaptive responses to environmental situations.

Keywords: neurobiology; psychology; happiness; pleasure; brain mechanisms

Article.  7656 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience ; Clinical Psychology

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