The path to Happiness: peace or pleasure?

Date: Thursday 4th December, 2014 9pm;

Venue: Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown

Speakers: Morten Kringelbach, Scott Rennie

Most people want to be happy. We all intuitively know it when we feel it, yet we are surprisingly poor at predicting what will bring us happiness.[/one_half_last]

Is it the pleasure of good wine or great sex? The lasting pleasure of helping people in need? Or perhaps it is simply the quiet moments free from stress when we are truly relaxed?

Finding a definition that truly captures this feeling is not as easy as we might expect. For thousands of years ancient contemplative traditions have examined the nature of happiness. More recently, the fields of neuroscience and positive psychology have attempted to do the same. While these efforts have produced many theories of happiness, there are two apparently divergent approaches to how to achieve it. One that has emerged from psychology focuses on a “happiness of pursuit” by searching for pleasurable and meaningful experiences. Another, which comes from ancient contemplative traditions, views happiness as being quite separate from the search for pleasure. Instead, it sees it as a skill that can be trained through meditation. On December 4, 9pm, at the Champalimaud Center of the Unknown  Dr. Morten Kringelbach, a professor at Oxford University will tell us about the neuroscience of pleasure. Scott Rennie, a PhD student at the Champalimaud Neuroscience Programme, will talk about meditative practices and their impact on how the brain functions.

Join us for a thought-provoking exploration of these two paths, and how they impact the brain.




MortenKringelbach scott







Nuno Loureiro studied Engineering Physics at Instituto Superior Tecnico in Lisboa, before working as an aerospace engineer at the European Space Agency. For his PhD, he joined the Neurobiology of Action Lab at the CNP. His project aims at understanding the dynamics of learning during an arbitrary task by using brain-machine interfaces (BMI).

Marina Fridman studied neuroscience and philosophy in Montreal before moving to
Germany for her Master’s. Now she is a PhD student at the CNP in the Cortical Circuits lab where she is examining how cognitive processes affect perception.






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