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PhD defense: Kristine Rømer Thomsen

PhD student, MSc (psychology) Kristine Rømer Thomsen will defend her PhD dissertation on Normal and impaired pleasure processing in the human brain

2014.06.17 | Henriette Blæsild Vuust

Date Wed 25 Jun
Time 14:00 16:00
Location DNC Auditorium, AUH, Building 10G, Nørrebrogade 44, 8000 Aarhus C.

PhD dissertation title: Normal and impaired pleasure processing in the human brain

Pleasure is essential to optimise health and well-being, and is key to understanding anhedonia (i.e. lack of pleasure). Anhedonia plays an important role across many psychiatric disorders including affective and addicitive disorders. Knowledge of the psychological components of pleasure and their corresponding brain systems is crucial to get a better understanding of anhedonia.


The present dissertation concerns key questions related to pleasure and anhedonia in humans, and makes three main contributions to the literature: (i) in the first study we demonstrated an interaction between emotion and conscious experience by showing that it is easier to see positive faces and words compared to neutral and negative; (ii) in the next study we showed that behavioural addiction is characterised by impaired self-control (similar to drug addiction) and accompanying changes in a paralimbic network which is involved in self-awareness and self-control, and finally; (iii) in the last study we propose to reconceptualise the term anhedonia as impairments in the ability to seek, enjoy and/or learn from pleasurable experiences, and not just as impairments in the subjective experience of pleasure.


Overall, the dissertation contributes to our growing understanding of the psychology and neurobiology of pleasure and anhedonia, through empirical studies and a theory-driven review of the available data.


After the defense CFIN will host a small reception in front of the auditorium.