Morten L. Kringelbach
Associate Professor and Senior Research Fellow
- Professor of Neuroscience, Aarhus Univ.
- Senior Research Fellow, The Queen's College
My research goal is to reverse-engineer the human brain and in particular to elucidate the heuristics that allow us to survive and thrive. I focus on elucidating hedonia (pleasure) and eudaimonia (the life well-lived), and how they are affected in health and disease; in particular seeking to elucidate their breakdown in anhedonia (the lack of pleasure) in neuropsychiatric disorders.
In Hedonia Research Group, we use advanced analysis methods (whole-brain computational modelling, connectomics and psychophysical modelling) on precise paradigms (neuroimaging of spontaneous activity and batteries of psychological tasks using multimodal stimuli including infants, food, drugs and music) in healthy people (including experts such as musicians and parents) – as well as in at-risk and diseased populations (e.g. sleep-disturbances and neuropsychiatric disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and deep brain stimulation).
Infants are a focus of my research and especially how their cute looks, sounds and smells strongly influence the adult brain. The ERC is funding our research to better understand the developing 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.
We also focus on the neural mechanisms of music as part of the Music in Brain centre at Aarhus University, funded by the Danish National Research Foundation. Equally, we are working to 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 hedonia and eudaimonia, opening up for new treatments and perhaps even better lives.