The pleasure of skin gently warmed by the sun; the sting of chilli in a fragrant Thai soup.
The pleasant and painful feelings that we feel in the body are the result of neurons firing as the brain interprets what is going on. In the Hedonic Pharmacology lab, we use cognitive, social and affective neuroscience methods to understand how the brain gives rise to subjective feelings.
What does hedonic mean? It refers to a particular quality of a feeling, i.e. if it is good or bad. The sting of chilli is hot, sharp – and depending on your preferences, it can feel very pleasant or rather aversive, or even give rise to seemingly contradictory feelings such as pleasurable pain.