When you feel anxious, angry, happy, or surprised, what's really going on inside of you?
Many scientists believe that emotions come from a specific part of the brain, triggered by the world around us. The thrill of seeing an old friend, the fear of losing someone we love - each of these sensations seems to arise automatically and uncontrollably from within us, finding expression on our faces and in our behaviour, carrying us away with the experience.
This understanding of emotion has been around since Plato. But what if it is wrong? In How Emotions Are Made, pioneering psychologist and neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett draws on the latest scientific evidence to reveal that our common-sense ideas about emotions are dramatically, even dangerously, out of date - and that we have been paying the price. Emotions aren't universally pre-programmed in our brains and bodies; rather they are psychological experiences that each of us constructs based on our unique personal history, physiology and environment.
This new view of emotions has serious implications: when judges issue lesser sentences for crimes of passion, when police officers fire at threatening suspects, or when doctors choose between one diagnosis and another, they're all, in some way, relying on the ancient assumption that emotions are hardwired into our brains and bodies. Revising that conception of emotion isn't just good science, Barrett shows; it's vital to our well-being and the health of society itself.
About the Author
Lisa Feldman Barrett, Ph.D., is a University Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Northeastern University, with appointments at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital in Psychiatry and Radiology. She received a NIH Director's Pioneer Award for her research on emotion in the brain. She lives in Boston.
Lisa Barrett writes with great clarity about how your emotions are not merely about what you're born with, but also about how your brain pieces your feelings together, and how you can contribute to the process. She tells a compelling story. -- Joseph Le Doux, author of Anxious and Synaptic Self Fascinating . . . a thought-provoking journey into emotion science * The Wall Street Journal * Lisa Barrett masterfully integrates discoveries from affective science, neuroscience, social psychology, and philosophy to make sense of the many instances of emotion that you experience and witness each day. -- Barbara Fredrickson, author of Positivity and Love 2.0 Lisa Feldman Barrett illuminates the fascinating new science of our emotions. -- Peggy Orenstein, author of Girls & Sex This is a provocative, accessible, important book. -- Robert Sapolsky, author of Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers and A Primate's Memoir The implications of Lisa Barrett's work (which `only' challenges two-thousand-year-old assumptions about the brain) are nothing short of stunning. Even more stunning is how extraordinarily well she succeeds. -- Nancy Gertner, Senior Lecturer on Law, Harvard Law School, and former U.S. federal judge for the United States District Court of Massachusetts A provocative, insightful, and engaging analysis ... You won't think about emotions in the same way after you read this important book. -- Daniel L. Schacter, author of The Seven Sins of Memory Barrett's figurative selfie of the brain is brilliant. * Booklist * Every lawyer and judge doing serious criminal trials should read this book. -- Baroness Helena Kennedy QC House of Lords, U.K. Radical and fascinating ... How Emotions are Made defends a bold new vision of the most central aspects of human nature. -- Paul Bloom, author of Against Empathy and How Pleasure Works Meticulous, well-researched, and deeply thought out ... For anyone who has struggled to reconcile brain and heart, this book will be a treasure; it explains the science without short-changing the humanism of its topic. -- Andrew Solomon, bestselling author of Far from the Tree and The Noonday Demon A brilliant and original book on the science of emotion, by the deepest thinker about this topic since Darwin -- Daniel Gilbert, author of the bestseller Stumbling on Happiness The definitive field guide to feelings and the neuroscience behind them. -- Angela Duckworth, bestselling author of Grit How Emotions Are Made did what all great books do. It took a subject I thought I understood and turned my understanding upside down. * Malcolm Gladwell *
Introduction - i: Introduction: The Two Thousand Year Old Assumption
Chapter - 1: The Search For Emotion's ''Fingerprints''
Chapter - 2: Emotions Are Constructed
Chapter - 3: The Myth of Universal Emotions
Chapter - 4: The Origin of Feeling
Chapter - 5: Concepts, Goals, and Words
Chapter - 6: How the Brain Makes Emotions
Chapter - 7: Emotions As A Social Reality
Chapter - 8: A New View of Human Nature
Chapter - 9: Mastering Your Emotions
Chapter - 10: Emotions and Illness
Chapter - 11: Emotion and the Law
Chapter - 12: Is a Growling Dog Angry?
Chapter - 13: From Brain to Mind: The New Frontier
Acknowledgements - ii: Acknowledgments
Section - iii: Appendix A: Brain Basics
Section - iv: Appendix B: Supplement for Chapter 2
Section - v: Appendix C: Supplement for Chapter 3
Section - vi: Appendix D: Evidence for the Concept Cascade
Section - vii: Bibliography
Section - viii: Notes
Section - ix: Illustration Credits
Index - x: Index