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The Agony and the Ecstasy: An afternoon with Kent Berridge and Frederick Toates

29th February 2020, LSE, London
Online booking has now closed, please contact london@oups.org.uk for availability.

London & South OUPS are delighted to present this half-day mini-conference, in which we have brought together two experts in the field of Motivation, Desire, Addiction and Obsession.


  • Professor Frederick Toates: 'Motivation, pleasure and pain – the basics'

    The lecture will briefly review the history of incentive motivation theory, showing where it is an advance on earlier drive theories. The discussion will then turn to what the theory can contribute to the understanding of pleasure, pain and addictions. The lecture will look at the role of dopamine in motivation and suggest a broad framework that can accommodate various forms of addiction. The ideas developed will be applied to a wide range of phenomena including fetishes, psychopathy, obesity and aggression.
  • Professor Kent Berridge, University of Michigan: 'Motivation, pleasure and pain – latest developments'

    The lecture will describe recent applications of the ‘liking’ and ‘wanting’ distinction to human clinical disorders other than drug addiction, such as behavioral addictions, medication-induced compulsions, depression and schizophrenia. Also, the latest research findings on 1) brain ‘liking’ generators, and 2) how the brain’s ‘wanting’ system also may have a surprising relation to its mechanisms for fear. In some conditions, this relationship can even produce a ‘wanting for what hurts you’.





Professor Kent C. Berridge (University of Michigan)

Kent is a professor of biopsychology and neuroscience at the University of Michigan in the U.S.A. and joint winner of the 2018 Grawemeyer Award for Psychology. Together with his colleague, Terry Robinson, Kent has revolutionized the area of motivation and desire. Their work at the University of Michigan forms a principal foundation of the contemporary study of addiction and their 1993 article, "The neural basis of drug craving: an incentive-sensitization theory of addiction" has achieved iconic status and represents one of the most, if not the most, heavily cited articles of all time in the addiction field. The team has coined two new expressions, now widely used throughout psychology: (i) incentive salience and (ii) wanting versus liking. As well as addiction, their research has been extensively applied to understanding depression, obesity and schizophrenia.




Frederick Toates



Professor Frederick Toates (The Open University)

Frederick is Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the Open University and President of OUPS. His research concerns motivation and emotion and the application of basic principles to understanding a wide range of behaviour, including addictions and obsessions. His latest publication“ A framework for understanding sexual violence: Incentive-motivation and hierarchical control” appeared in the journal 'Aggression and Violent Behavior'.



  • The event comprises two lectures with the opportunity to ask questions.
  • Registration will take place in the ground floor reception area from 1.30pm.
  • Talks start at 2.00pm in the Wolfson Theatre on the lower floor.
  • Tea and coffee breaks allow attendees to take time to socialise at the venue. 
  • The day finishes at around 5.00pm.


Some of the things delegates have said about previous LOUPS Conferences.

"This was an excellent conference, very impressive range of highly qualified speakers and a very well run event."

"Many thanks to all the committee for making such a brilliant one day conference happen."

"I found all the talks truly fascinating and very much worthwhile. ... All the speakers were brilliant ..."

"Great event, covered a very interesting range of topics."


Please note that attendance to this event is restricted to 60 places, and tickets on the day, subject to availability, will be £25 (no member discount).

We therefore recommend that you book in advance to benefit from our members discount (if applicable).

If you have any enquiries about the day please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


LSE New Academic Building

The New Academic Building,
London School of Economics,
54 Lincoln's Inn Fields,


Click here for information on accessibility, parking and other related facilities.

Travel and directions

The nearest underground station is Holborn, approx. five minutes walk away.

Click here for directions to the New Academic Building, London School of Economics.


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