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Neuron. 2015 May 6;86(3):646-64. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2015.02.018.

Pleasure systems in the brain.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1043, USA. Electronic address: berridge@umich.edu.
2
Department of Psychiatry, Warneford Hospital, University of Oxford, Oxford OX3 7JX, UK; Centre for Functionally Integrative Neuroscience, University of Aarhus, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark.

Abstract

Pleasure is mediated by well-developed mesocorticolimbic circuitry and serves adaptive functions. In affective disorders, anhedonia (lack of pleasure) or dysphoria (negative affect) can result from breakdowns of that hedonic system. Human neuroimaging studies indicate that surprisingly similar circuitry is activated by quite diverse pleasures, suggesting a common neural currency shared by all. Wanting for reward is generated by a large and distributed brain system. Liking, or pleasure itself, is generated by a smaller set of hedonic hot spots within limbic circuitry. Those hot spots also can be embedded in broader anatomical patterns of valence organization, such as in a keyboard pattern of nucleus accumbens generators for desire versus dread. In contrast, some of the best known textbook candidates for pleasure generators, including classic pleasure electrodes and the mesolimbic dopamine system, may not generate pleasure after all. These emerging insights into brain pleasure mechanisms may eventually facilitate better treatments for affective disorders.

PMID:
25950633
PMCID:
PMC4425246
DOI:
10.1016/j.neuron.2015.02.018
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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