EMILY KWONG: So today on the show, the neuroscience of pleasure - what it is, where it lives in the brain, and how to have a healthier relationship with the things that just feel good. You're listening to SHORT WAVE, the science podcast from NPR.

OK, Rachel. So you revealed earlier that pleasure, it's not just, like, a feeling. It actually works in a cycle. What does that mean?

RACHEL CARLSON: Right, so I've often thought about pleasure just as this singular experience - I do something I like and then I feel good.

KWONG: Yeah, same.

CARLSON: And for a long time, researchers also thought that was the case.

KENT BERRIDGE: When I started in this field several decades ago, I thought that there was one unitary system in the brain that mediated both wanting and liking for rewards. I think most neuroscientists did think that at the time.

CARLSON: That's Kent Berridge. He's done a bunch of work with Morten and he's a professor of neuroscience at the University of Michigan. And as he studied pleasure, he saw that there were these different components in the brain, liking and wanting.

Listen to the complete show in NPR