The Reward Foundation is a pioneering educational charity that looks at the science behind sex and love relationships. The brain’s reward system evolved to drive us to natural rewards such as food, bonding and sex to promote our survival.
Today, internet technology has produced ‘supernormal’ versions of those natural rewards in the form of junk food, social media and internet pornography. They target and overstimulate our brain’s most delicate area, the reward system. Easy access to internet pornography through mobile technology has increased the risks of harm from overstimulation. Our brains have not evolved to cope with such hyper-arousal. Society is experiencing an explosion of behaviourial disorders and addictions as a result.
At the Reward Foundation we focus in particular on internet pornography. While we’d like to focus on healthy love relationships, it is not possible to do so without discussing the role of pornography today. We look at its impact on mental and physical health, relationships, attainment and criminality. We aim to make the supporting research accessible to non-scientists so that everyone can make informed choices about the use of internet pornography.
While a bit of exposure to pornography may be harmless for some, escalation in the hours watched and types viewed can lead to unanticipated problems in social, occupational, and health activities for others. It can lead to time in prison, suicidal ideation and a variety of health problems. We thought you might be interested learning about the life experience of those who have reported incredible benefits from quitting porn having suffered negative consequences from years of excess use. Our work is based on academic research and these real life cases. We offer guidance on prevention and building resilience to stress and addiction.
We are registered as Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation SC044948, founded on 23 June 2014.
Our charitable purposes are:
- To advance education by furthering public understanding of the reward circuitry of the brain and how it interacts with the environment, and
- To improve health by furthering public understanding of building resilience to stress.
Full details of The Reward Foundation are registered with the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator and are available on the OSCR website. Our annual return, also known as our Annual Report, is also available from OSCR on that page.
Here is our current leadership team.
Chief Executive Officer
Mary Sharpe, Advocate, has been our CEO since May 2016. Since childhood Mary has been fascinated by the power of the mind. She calls on her wide professional experience, training and scholarship to help The Reward Foundation tackle the real issues of love, sex and the Internet. For more information on Mary click here.
Board Members include…
Dr Darryl Mead is the Chair of The Reward Foundation. Darryl is an expert on the internet and the information age. He established the first free public internet facility in Scotland in 1996 and has advised the Scottish and UK governments on the challenges of our transition to a digital society. Darryl is a Fellow of Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals and an Honorary Research Associate at University College London.
Anne Darling is a trainer and social work consultant. She provides Child Protection training at all levels to education staff in the independent school sector. She also delivers sessions to parents on all aspects of Internet Safety. She has been a CEOP ambassador in Scotland and help create the ‘Keeping Myself Safe’ programme for lower primary children.
Mo Gill joined our Board in 2018. She is a highly motivated senior HR professional, Organisational Development specialist, Facilitator, Mediator, and Coach with over 30 years’ experience of developing organisations, teams and individuals. Mo has worked in the public, private and voluntary sectors in a range of challenging roles which align well with the work of The Reward Foundation.
Follow these links to learn more about The Reward Foundation:
We do not offer therapy. We do signpost services who do.
The Reward Foundation does not offer legal advice.