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A Hedonism Hub in the Human Brain

Zacharopoulos, G; Lancaster, TM; Bracht, T; Ihssen, N; Maio, GR; Linden, DEJ

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G Zacharopoulos

TM Lancaster

T Bracht

GR Maio

DEJ Linden


Human values are abstract ideals that motivate behavior. The motivational nature of human values raises the possibility that they might be underpinned by brain structures that are particularly involved in motivated behavior and reward processing. We hypothesized that variation in subcortical hubs of the reward system and their main connecting pathway, the superolateral medial forebrain bundle (slMFB) is associated with individual value orientation. We conducted Pearson's correlation between the scores of 10 human values and the volumes of 14 subcortical structures and microstructural properties of the medial forebrain bundle in a sample of 87 participants, correcting for multiple comparisons (i.e.,190). We found a positive association between the value that people attach to hedonism and the volume of the left globus pallidus (GP).We then tested whether microstructural parameters (i.e., fractional anisotropy and myelin volume fraction) of the slMFB, which connects with the GP, are also associated to hedonism and found a significant, albeit in an uncorrected level, positive association between the myelin volume fraction within the left slMFB and hedonism scores. This is the first study to elucidate the relationship between the importance people attach to the human value of hedonism and structural variation in reward-related subcortical brain regions.


Zacharopoulos, G., Lancaster, T., Bracht, T., Ihssen, N., Maio, G., & Linden, D. (2016). A Hedonism Hub in the Human Brain. Cerebral Cortex, 26(10), 3921-3927.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 23, 2016
Online Publication Date Jul 29, 2016
Publication Date Oct 1, 2016
Deposit Date Sep 18, 2016
Publicly Available Date Sep 20, 2016
Journal Cerebral Cortex
Print ISSN 1047-3211
Electronic ISSN 1460-2199
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 26
Issue 10
Pages 3921-3927


Published Journal Article (267 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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