Open main menu

Alliesthesia (αλλoς (allós) - other, and αἴσθησις (aísthēsis) - sensation, perception; French : alliesthésie, German : Alliästhesie) is a psychophysiological phenomenon (not to be confused with the pathologic symptom of allesthesia) that describes the dependent relationship between the internal state of an organism and the perceived pleasure or displeasure of stimuli.[1] The internal state of an organism is in constant change, and any stimulus that can help to correct an error or need will be pleasantly perceived. For example, food will be more pleasant when hungry compared to when an organism is satiated. The sensation aroused therefore depends not only on the quality or on the intensity of the stimulus, but also on the internal state of the organism as sensed by internal receptors. The relationship between the perceptual system and physiology is subjective and studied by psychophysics.

Forms of alliesthesiaEdit

Each of these forms of alliesthesia exists in two opposite tendencies:

  • negative alliesthesia: shift of sensation from pleasure to displeasure.
  • positive alliesthesia: shift of sensation from displeasure to pleasure.


The phenomenon of alliesthesia was first described by the French physiologist Michel Cabanac. The first scientific publication from 1968[4] was succeeded by over 40 publications in international journals, for example: 1970 in Nature[5] and 1971 in Science.[6] The term alliesthesia was first mentioned in the annex of Physiological Role of Pleasure and was further elaborated in collaboration with the coauthor Stylianos Nicolaïdis. Originally, alliesthesia was demonstrated in experiments with human subjects, and later confirmed in rats (Rattus norvegicus).[7]


  1. ^ Cabanac, Michel (1971-09-17). "Physiological Role of Pleasure". Science. 173 (4002): 1103–1107. doi:10.1126/science.173.4002.1103. ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 5098954.
  2. ^ Parkinson, Thomas; de Dear, Richard (2014-12-15). "Thermal pleasure in built environments: physiology of alliesthesia". Building Research & Information. 43 (3): 288–301. doi:10.1080/09613218.2015.989662. ISSN 0961-3218.
  3. ^ Tordoff, MG (2008). "Gene discovery and the genetic basis of calcium consumption". Physiology & Behavior. 94 (5): 649–659. doi:10.1016/j.physbeh.2008.04.004. PMC 2574908. PMID 18499198.
  4. ^ Cabanac, M; Minaire, Y; Adair, ER (1968). "Influence of internal factors on the pleasantness of a gustative sweet sensation". Commun Behav Biol A. 1: 77–82.
  5. ^ Cabanac, M; Duclaux, R (1970). "Specificity of internal signals in producing satiety for taste stimuli". Nature. 227 (5261): 966–7. doi:10.1038/227966a0. PMID 4915408.
  6. ^ Cabanac, Michel (1971-09-17). "Physiological Role of Pleasure". Science. 173 (4002): 1103–1107. doi:10.1126/science.173.4002.1103. ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 5098954.
  7. ^ Cabanac, M; Lafrance, L (1990). "Postingestive alliesthesia: the rat tells the same story". Physiology & Behavior. 47 (3): 539–43. doi:10.1016/0031-9384(90)90123-L.