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Morten L. Kringelbach


Professor of Neuroscience

  • Professor of Neuroscience, Aarhus University
  • Director, Centre for Eudaimonia and Human Flourishing
  • Fellow, Linacre College

As the founding director of the Centre for Eudaimonia and Human Flourishing, 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.

The Centre convenes and fosters an interdisciplinary team of philosophers, psychologists, musicians, artists, social scientists, physicists, biologists, anthropologists, and neuroscientists. The collaborative goal is to clarify underlying psychological, cultural and philosophical issues and connect these discussions to contemporary investigation of the neural mechanisms of emotional and cognitive states. The research teams use philosophical, anthropological and psychological analyses as well as precise neuroscientific paradigms that employ multimodal behavioural stimuli including music, pharmacological interventions and deep brain stimulation.

My Hedonia Research Group is a key part of the Centre. 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 has been 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 how psychedelics work and their potential in treatment-resistant neuropsychiatric disorders.

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. 

Key publications

Recent publications

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