Boktips v43 – How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain

Business woman sitting and reading a book. Looking over her shoulder and smiling.
Boktips v43 – How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain

Boktips v43

Titel: How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain
Author: Lisa Feldman Barrett
Published by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Year: 2017

This week we present a special book recommendation by Marketplace co-founder Frida Hedström. How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain introduces a new theory of how the brain constructs emotions that could revolutionize psychology, health care, law enforcement, and our understanding of the human mind.

Debunking an old myth 

But let me start with a non mythical statement, I LOVE BOOKS!! Books of all sorts take me on a journey, they are inviting me into a new world of knowledge, giving me new perspectives and ideas, or they just give me a moment to relax and find new connections. Especially in these days, when Covid-19 is still being present in our society, books allow you to travel, to see new worlds, and all of that from a comfortable sofa, while following the guidelines and keeping social distance. 

This particular book, that I highly recommend everyone to read if you want to upgrade and alter your thinking, falls in the category of books that completely change the way I see things. 

Lisa Feldman Barret Ph.D. Is a professor in psychology and has received the NIH director’s Pioneer award for her research on Emotion in the brain. 

She takes the reader on a journey from the two thousand year old assumption that our emotions have a fixed place in our brain, meaning that emotions are universal, and thru the book she is debunking the myth proving that our emotions and our expression of emotion is trained and both cultural and context specific – there is no universal emotion system – variation is the norm. 

Our emotions are constructed, not universal

This notion provides you with a framework – a framework that allows you to think of your emotional categorization in a different way and understand what emotions you are trained to feel and what emotional expressions you are taught to express. Again they are constructed, not universal – there is no emotional fingerprint in your brain! Stop there for a moment and think about what that means – If there are no universal emotions, how sure can you be of your understanding of your own and other people’s emotional life? their expressions? and where they came from? and on top of that, how do you create meaning from that? 

If you at this point feel confused, intrigued or curious to learn more about emotional categorization, why law professionals should have a training in different cultures emotional expressions, the origin of feeling, how to master your emotions, emotion illness or if you just want to know more about and understand how the brain makes emotions….this book is definitely for you! Enjoy the read, I’m confident you will! 

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