How emotions are made The secret life of the brain

Lisa Feldman Barrett

Book - 2017

"A new theory of how the brain constructs emotions that could revolutionize psychology, health care, law enforcement, and our understanding of the human mind. Emotions feel automatic, like uncontrollable reactions to things we think and experience. Scientists have long supported this assumption by claiming that emotions are hardwired in the body or the brain. Today, however, the science of emotion is in the midst of a revolution on par with the discovery of relativity in physics and natural... selection in biology--ans this paradigm shift has far-reaching implications for us all. Leading the charge is psychologist and neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett, whose theory of emotion is driving a deeper understanding of the mind and brain, and shedding new light on what it means to be human. Her research overturns the widely held belief that emotions are housed in different parts of the brain and are universally expressed and recognized. Instead, she has shown that emotion is constructed in the moment, by core systems that interact across the whole brain, aided by a lifetime of learning. This new theory means that you play a much greater role in your emotional life than you ever thought. Its repercussions are already shaking the foundations not only of psychology but also of medicine, the legal system, child-rearing, meditation, and even airport security. Why do emotions feel automatic? Does rational thought really control emotion? How does emotion affect disease? How can you make your children more emotionally intelligent? How Emotions Are Made answers these questions and many more, revealing the latest research and intriguing practical applications of the new science of emotion, mind, and brain"--

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Subjects
Published
Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2017.
Language
English
Physical Description
xv, 425 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN
9780544133310
0544133315
Main Author
Lisa Feldman Barrett (author)
  • The two-thousand-year-old assumption
  • The search for emotion's "fingerprints"
  • Emotions are constructed
  • The myth of universal emotions
  • The origin of feeling
  • Concepts, goals, and words
  • How the brain makes emotions
  • Emotions as social reality
  • A new view of human nature
  • Mastering your emotions
  • Emotion and illness
  • Emotion and the law
  • Is a growling dog angry?
  • From brain to mind : the new frontier
  • Appendix A. Brain basics
  • Appendix B. Supplement for chapter 2
  • Appendix C. Supplement for chapter 3
  • Appendix D. Evidence for the concept cascade.
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Prepare to have your brain twisted around as psychology professor Barrett takes it on a tour of itself. A brain learning about the brain via words on a page is clearly a concept Barrett relishes. Her enthusiasm for her topic brightens every amazing fact and theory about where our emotions come from. Hint: it's not what you think. Indeed, each chapter is chockablock with startling insights. The brain's neurotransmitters, plasticity, microwiring, degeneracy, multipurpose circuitry, and more comprise a complex system whose basic function is to balance our "body budget," dispensing and apportioning what is necessary to keep us alive and healthy enough to reproduce. To accomplish this task, the brain must be both architect (of our individual and collective realities) and electrical engineer. And to pull that off, it must be continuously attuned to how we feel. It is "affect"—loosely translated: physical feelings—that rules the mind. With that bit of news, Barrett explodes the myth that we are rational beings. All this is quite a drastic turn from centuries of bad guessing, beginning with the ancient Egyptians, who pulled the brain out through the nose when preparing a body for burial because they believed it was a useless organ. Barrett's figurative selfie of the brain is brilliant. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Barrett (psychology, Northeastern Univ.) presents a new neuroscientific explanation of why people are more swayed by feelings than by facts. She offers an unintuitive theory that goes against not only the popular understanding but also that of traditional research: emotions don't arise; rather, we construct them on the fly. Furthermore, emotions are neither universal nor located in specific brain regions; they vary by culture and result from dynamic neuronal networks. These networks run nonstop simulations, making predictions and correcting them based on the environment rather than reacting to it. Tracing her own journey from the classical view of emotions, Barrett progressively builds her case, writing in a conversational tone and using down-to-earth metaphors, relegating the heaviest neuroscience to an appendix to keep the book accessible. Still, it is a lot to take in if one has not been exposed to these ideas before. VERDICT The theories of emotion and the human brain set forth here are revolutionary and have important implications. For readers interested in psychology and neuroscience as well as those involved in education and policy.—Nancy H. Fontaine, Norwich P.L., VT Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Psychologist and neuroscientist Barrett painstakingly attempts to refute traditional thinking about human emotions as portrayed in the popular media, such as the TV show Lie To Me and Oscar-winning movie Inside Out. She argues that emotions aren't a "fixed component of our biological nature," but rather are constructed in our minds based on predictions. Emotions take form from how they are perceived, Barrett writes, and moreover, they take different forms in different cultures. Her ideas make intuitive sense and are convincing, though her presentation is often slow going as she painstakingly dissects every conceivable counterargument. Some of her ideas are, as she admits, speculative, though "informed by data." The book includes possible implications of constructed emotions, Barrett's prescriptions for emotional health—"eating healthfully, exercising, and getting enough sleep," among others—and an investigation into whether animals experience emotions. Most startling is Barrett's suggestion that chronic pain, stress, anxiety, and autism might be caused by errors in predicted, constructed emotions. The book is a challenging read and will offer the most rewards to researchers already familiar with the longstanding and apparently still unresolved arguments about what emotions are. Agent: Max Brockman, Brockman Inc. (Mar.) Copyright 2016 Publisher Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"A new theory of how the brain constructs emotions that could revolutionize psychology, health care, law enforcement, and our understanding of the human mind Emotions feel automatic, like uncontrollable reactions to things we think and experience. Scientists have long supported this assumption by claiming that emotions are hardwired in the body or the brain. Today, however, the science of emotion is in the midst of a revolution on par with the discovery of relativity in physics and natural selection in biology--and this paradigm shift has far-reaching implications for us all. Leading the charge is psychologist and neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett, whose theory of emotion is driving a deeper understanding of the mind and brain,and shedding new light on what it means to be human. Her research overturns the widely held belief that emotions are housed in different parts of the brain and are universally expressed and recognized. Instead, she has shown that emotion is constructed in the moment, by core systems that interact across the whole brain, aided by a lifetime of learning. This new theory means that you play a much greater role in your emotional life than you ever thought. Its repercussions are already shaking the foundations not only of psychology but also of medicine, the legal system, child-rearing, meditation, and even airport security. Why do emotions feel automatic? Does rational thought really control emotion? How does emotion affect disease? How can you make your children more emotionally intelligent? How Emotions Are Made answers these questions and many more, revealing the latest research and intriguing practical applications of the new science of emotion, mind, and brain"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Outlines new theories about how the brain constructs emotions to evaluate a growing potential for revolutionizing psychology, health care, law enforcement and modern understandings about the human mind. 30,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Outlines new theories about how the brain constructs emotions to evaluate a growing potential for revolutionizing psychology, health care, law enforcement, and modern understandings about the human mind.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

A new theory of how the brain constructs emotions that could revolutionize psychology, health care, law enforcement, and our understanding of the human mind Emotions feel automatic, like uncontrollable reactions to things we think and experience. Scientists have long supported this assumption by claiming that emotions are hardwired in the body or the brain. Today, however, the science of emotion is in the midst of a revolution on par with the discovery of relativity in physics and natural selection in biology'ans this paradigm shift has far-reaching implications for us all.    Leading the charge is psychologist and neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett, whose theory of emotion is driving a deeper understanding of the mind and brain, and shedding new light on what it means to be human. Her research overturns the widely held belief that emotions are housed in different parts of the brain and are universally expressed and recognized. Instead, she has shown that emotion is constructed in the moment, by core systems that interact across the whole brain, aided by a lifetime of learning. This new theory means that you play a much greater role in your emotional life than you ever thought. Its repercussions are already shaking the foundations not only of psychology but also of medicine, the legal system, child-rearing, meditation, and even airport security.    Why do emotions feel automatic? Does rational thought really control emotion? How does emotion affect disease? How can you make your children more emotionally intelligent? How Emotions Are Made answers these questions and many more, revealing the latest research and intriguing practical applications of the new science of emotion, mind, and brain. 

Review by Publisher Summary 5

A new theory of how the brain constructs emotions that could revolutionize psychology, health care, law enforcement, and our understanding of the human mind Emotions feel automatic, like uncontrollable reactions to things we think and experience. Scientists have long supported this assumption by claiming that emotions are hardwired in the body or the brain. Today, however, the science of emotion is in the midst of a revolution on par with the discovery of relativity in physics and natural selection in biology—ans this paradigm shift has far-reaching implications for us all.    Leading the charge is psychologist and neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett, whose theory of emotion is driving a deeper understanding of the mind and brain, and shedding new light on what it means to be human. Her research overturns the widely held belief that emotions are housed in different parts of the brain and are universally expressed and recognized. Instead, she has shown that emotion is constructed in the moment, by core systems that interact across the whole brain, aided by a lifetime of learning. This new theory means that you play a much greater role in your emotional life than you ever thought. Its repercussions are already shaking the foundations not only of psychology but also of medicine, the legal system, child-rearing, meditation, and even airport security.    Why do emotions feel automatic? Does rational thought really control emotion? How does emotion affect disease? How can you make your children more emotionally intelligent? How Emotions Are Made answers these questions and many more, revealing the latest research and intriguing practical applications of the new science of emotion, mind, and brain. 

Review by Publisher Summary 6

A new theory of how the brain constructs emotions that could revolutionize psychology, health care, the legal system, and our understanding of the human mind