Affective neuroscience of pleasure: reward in humans and animals

Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2008 Aug;199(3):457-80. doi: 10.1007/s00213-008-1099-6. Epub 2008 Mar 3.


Introduction: Pleasure and reward are generated by brain circuits that are largely shared between humans and other animals.

Discussion: Here, we survey some fundamental topics regarding pleasure mechanisms and explicitly compare humans and animals.

Conclusion: Topics surveyed include liking, wanting, and learning components of reward; brain coding versus brain causing of reward; subjective pleasure versus objective hedonic reactions; roles of orbitofrontal cortex and related cortex regions; subcortical hedonic hotspots for pleasure generation; reappraisals of dopamine and pleasure-electrode controversies; and the relation of pleasure to happiness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Causality
  • Consciousness
  • Humans
  • Motivation
  • Reward*
  • Species Specificity