Apr 6, 2017

Brain Generators of Delight, Desire, and Dread

12:30pm-1:30pm, Apr 6, 2017

Room 100, Wesbrook Building, 6174 University Boulevard
UBC Psychology Colloquium
Dr. Kent Berridge

For over 30 years, Dr. Berridge has made some outstanding contributions detailing the involvement of brain systems regulating motivation, affect, reward “liking”, reward “wanting”, emotion, fear, pleasure, drug addiction, eating disorders, and decision utility.  In particular, his work and ideas have been very influential in understanding the functions of the mesolimbic dopamine system, and what role it plays (and does not play) to reward processing.


Pleasure ‘liking’ is an essential psychological function for wellbeing, and incentive ‘wanting’ can normally give zest to life. Yet clinical disorders of addiction, binge eating, depression and schizophrenia can involve dysfunction of ‘liking’ and/or ‘wanting’.  Recent findings indicate that ‘liking’ is generated by a surprisingly frail and tiny network of hedonic hotspots distributed across brain limbic structures.  By contrast, ‘wanting' for pleasures has a much more robust and larger brain generating mesocorticolimbic network, which interacts with amygdala-related mechanisms to focus ‘wanting’ on particular incentive targets.  Finally, ‘wanting’ networks can also switch mode to generate some active-coping forms of fear.  Such conclusions have implications for understanding normal psychological function, and may give insights into several disorders.