Released on 08 February 2018.

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How Emotions Are Made

The Secret Life of the Brain

4.11 based on 1027 ratings & 179 reviews on Goodreads.com

Synopsis

'Fascinating . . . a thought-provoking journey into emotion science' The Wall Street Journal

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the latest scientific evidence to reveal that our common-sense ideas about emotions are dramatically, even dangerously, out of date - and that we have been paying the price.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.

In the media

Barrett's figurative selfie of the brain is brilliant.
Booklist
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
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