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Prof Morten Kringelbach

Senior Research Fellow in Psychology


I came up to Oxford in 1998 to do my doctoral research on the functional neuroanatomy of emotion, after having studied at the University of Copenhagen and the Royal Academy of Arts, Denmark. In 2002 I came to The Queen’s College as a JRF and in 2006 started my own research group on pleasure, based in Oxford and at University of Aarhus, where I am also a Professor of Neuroscience. In 2011, together with Hugh McManners, I founded The Scars of War Foundation which is an interdisciplinary research center at Queen’s which is dedicated to advancing understanding of the effects of war and disaster. Recently, I have helped create the Music in the Brain centre in Denmark. I am also engaged with the Empathy Museum.


I give tutorials to the second year medical students at The Queen’s College about how the brain works. I supervise graduate students as well as undergraduate advanced projects and dissertations in topics related to my research. 


My research programme is aimed at understanding the pleasure systems in the human brain in health and disease. This pursuit uses a multidisciplinary and transnational approach using neuroimaging, neuropsychiatry, neurosurgery and whole-brain computational modelling. My research can be divided into three strands: 1) investigating fundamental pleasure networks in health and disease, 2) elucidating well-being as e.g. found in music and the parent-infant relationship, and 3) understanding and alleviating anhedonia in clinical populations (e.g. with post-traumatic stress disorder and Parkinson’s disease) using deep brain stimulation and other less invasive methods. The research is funded by the ERC, Danish National Research Foundation among others. 


Please see for research updates and a full list of publications. 

Key articles

Deco G., Cruzat J., Cabral J., Laufs H., Tagliazucchi E., Logothetis N.K. & Kringelbach M.L. (2019) Awakening: predicting external stimulation forcing transitions between different brain states. PNAS (in press).

Deco G., Cruzat J. & Kringelbach M.L. (2019) Brain songs framework for discovering the relevant timescale of the human brain. Nature Communications, 10:583.

Stevner A.B.A., Cabral J., Rapuano K., Nielsen S.F.V., Tagliazucchi E.,Laufs H., Vuust P., Deco G. Woolrich M.W., Van Someren E., Vidaurre D. & Kringelbach M.L. (2019) Discovery of key whole-brain transitions and dynamics during human wakefulness and non-REM sleep. Nature Communications, 10: 035.

Deco G., Cruzat J., Cabral J., Knudsen G.M., Carhart-Harris R.L., Whybrow P.C., Logothetis N.K. & Kringelbach M.L. (2018) Whole-brain multimodal neuroimaging model using serotonin receptor maps explain non-linear functional effects of LSD. Current Biology, 28(19): 3065-74.

Kringelbach M.L., Stark E.A., Alexander C., Bornstein M.H. & Stein A. (2016) On cuteness: Unlocking the parental brain and beyond. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 20(7): 545-58.

Berridge K.C. & Kringelbach M.L. (2015) Pleasure systems in the brain. Neuron, 86:646-664.

Deco G. & Kringelbach M.L. (2014) Great expectations: using whole-brain computational connectomics for understanding neuropsychiatric disorders. Neuron, 84(3): 892-905.

Kringelbach M.L. (2005) The human orbitofrontal cortex: linking reward to hedonic experience. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 6:691-702.

Kringelbach M.L., O’Doherty J., Rolls E. & Andrews C. (2003) Activation of the human orbitofrontal cortex to a liquid food stimulus is correlated with its subjective pleasantness. Cerebral Cortex, 13:1064-71.

Selected books

Emotion: pleasure and pain in the brain Kringelbach M.L. & Phillips, H. (Oxford University Press, 2014)

Pleasures of the Brain Kringelbach M.L. & Berridge, K.C., eds. (Oxford University Press, 2010)

The Pleasure Center. Trust your animal instincts Kringelbach M.L. (Oxford University Press, 2009)