Author(s): Lisa Feldman Barrett
When you feel anxious, angry, happy, or surprised, what's really going on inside you? Most scientists would agree that emotions come from specific parts of the brain, and that we feel them whenever they're triggered by the world around us. The thrill of seeing an old friend, the sadness of a tear-jerker movie, the fear of losing someone you love - each of these sensations arises automatically and uncontrollably within us, finding expression on our faces and in our behaviour, and carrying us away with the experience. This understanding of emotion has been around since Aristotle. But what if it's wrong? In How Your Emotions Are Made, pioneering psychologist Lisa Feldman Barrett draws on the latest scientific evidence to reveal that our ideas about emotion are dramatically, even dangerously, out of date - and that we have been paying the price. Emotions don't exist objectively in nature, Barrett explains, and they aren't 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 wellbeing and the health of society itself.
Emotions aren't hardwired into you - you create them. A world-leading neuroscientist argues that understanding the origin and nature of emotions has huge implications for our future
A brilliant and original book on the science of emotion, by the deepest thinker about this topic since Darwin -- Daniel Gilbert, author of the bestselling Stumbling on Happiness This meticulous, well-researched, and deeply thought out book provides information about our emotions - what they are, where they come from, why we have them. 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, best-selling author of Far From the Tree and The Noonday Demon What if everything you thought you knew about lust, anger, grief, and joy was wrong? Lisa Barrett is one of the psychology's wisest and most creative scientists and her theory of constructed emotion is radical and fascinating. Though vivid examples and sharp clear prose, 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 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 LeDoux, author of Anxious, the Emotional Brain, and Synaptic Self 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. How Emotions are Made will help you remake your life, giving you new lenses to see familiar feelings-from anxiety to love-anew. -- Barbara Fredrickson, author of Positivity and Love 2.0 Everything you thought you knew about what you feel and why you feel it turns out to be stunningly wrong. Lisa Feldman Barrett illuminates the fascinating new science of our emotions, offering real-world examples of why it matters in realms as diverse as health, parenting, romantic relationships and national security. -- Peggy Orenstein, author of Girls & Sex How Emotions Are Made is a provocative, insightful, and engaging analysis of the fascinating ways that our brains create our emotional lives, convincingly linking cutting edge neuroscience studies with everyday emotions. You won't think about emotions in the same way after you read this important book. -- Daniel L. Schacter, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Psychology, Harvard University and author of The Seven Sins of Memory How Emotions are Made chronicles a paradigm shift in the science of emotion. But more than that, this book brilliantly conveys the new neuroscience of emotion in an understandable, extraordinarily well written way. 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 We all harbor an intuition about emotions: that the way you experience joy, fear or anger happens automatically and is pretty much the same as a Kalahari hunter-gatherer. In this excellent new book, Lisa Barrett draws on contemporary research to offer a radically different picture: that the experience of emotion is highly individualized, neurobiologically idiosyncratic, and inseparable from cognition. This is a provocative, accessible, important book. Robert Sapolsky, author of WHY ZEBRAS DON'T GET ULCERS and A PRIMATE'S MEMOIR Every lawyer and judge doing serious criminal trials should read this book. We all grapple with the concepts of free will, emotional impulses, and criminal intent, but here these topics are exposed to a new scrutiny and old assumptions are challenged. The interface of law and brain science is suddenly the area we ought to be debating. Baroness Helena Kennedy QC House of Lords, U.K.
Lisa Feldman Barrett, PhD, 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 is co-author of both The Psychological Construction of Emotion and Handbook of Emotions. She lives in Boston.
Introduction - i: Introduction: The Two Thousand Year Old AssumptionChapter - 1: The Search For Emotion's ''Fingerprints''Chapter - 2: Emotions Are ConstructedChapter - 3: The Myth of Universal EmotionsChapter - 4: The Origin of FeelingChapter - 5: Concepts, Goals, and WordsChapter - 6: How the Brain Makes EmotionsChapter - 7: Emotions As A Social RealityChapter - 8: A New View of Human NatureChapter - 9: Mastering Your EmotionsChapter - 10: Emotions and IllnessChapter - 11: Emotion and the LawChapter - 12: Is a Growling Dog Angry?Chapter - 13: From Brain to Mind: The New FrontierAcknowledgements - ii: AcknowledgmentsSection - iii: Appendix A: Brain BasicsSection - iv: Appendix B: Supplement for Chapter 2Section - v: Appendix C: Supplement for Chapter 3Section - vi: Appendix D: Evidence for the Concept CascadeSection - vii: BibliographySection - viii: NotesSection - ix: Illustration CreditsIndex - x: Index