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The Economist magazine calls LSA's Kent Berridge "the neuroscientist who has changed the way we look at desire." That's because Berridge understands how the brain's reward mechanisms work — and why human beings have such insatiable wants.In his upcoming Distinguished University Professor lecture, "Finding Delight, Desire, and Dread in the Brain," Berridge will take listeners on a journey through the brain's reward system, detailing processes such as "liking" and "wanting," processes that are crucial for normal life but can go awry in the presence of addiction and other disorders.

The talk will take place at 4 p.m. Feb. 1 in Rackham Amphitheatre. The lecture and the reception that follows are free and open to the public.

A Distinguished University Professorship is the highest professorial honor bestowed on U-M faculty. Berridge was named the James Olds Distinguished University Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience in 2016. He also is a professor of psychology.

In his talk, Berridge will examine how the brain's "wanting" systems grow in addiction, become suppressed with mood disorders, and even take on a darker side in some forms of paranoia.

His lecture will follow in the footsteps of the late James Olds and other pioneering University of Michigan researchers who studied the brain's mechanisms for reward and motivation.

A faculty member in LSA's Department of Psychology since 1985, Berridge specializes in biopsychology, addiction, affective neuroscience, reward, and motivation. His research aims to answer such basic questions as: What causes addiction? How is pleasure generated by the brain? How is disgust generated? How does wanting something differ from liking it? What does fear share with desire?

Berridge and his lab team at U-M are studying the psychology and neurobiology of pleasure and desire to further understand the neural mechanisms of emotion, motivation, learning and reward. Their research has applications in the areas of human drug addiction, eating and mood disorders, consumption choices, and the conscious and unconscious emotions involved in everyday life.

Berridge named his professorship in honor of the pioneering American psychologist James Olds, who is considered one of the founders of neuroscience.