A new book on how the brain constructs emotions — one that could revolutionize psychology, health care, the legal system, and our understanding of the human mind.
“A brilliant and original book on the science of emotion, by the deepest thinker about this topic since Darwin.”
“Barrett’s figurative selfie of the brain is brilliant.”
"Ms. Barrett writes clearly, with compelling examples and stories, and helps bring us all up to speed on most of the major developments in the field of emotion studies. [Her] book is a thought-provoking journey into emotion science."
"Prepare to have your brain twisted around as psychology professor Barrett takes it on a tour of itself. Her enthusiasm for her topic brightens every amazing fact and theory about where our emotions come from."
"FIVE STARS. The depth with which Barrett describes [the nature of emotion] is truly remarkable. [She] ties together the many facets of emotional concerns and makes them accessible to the average reader. [...] Down-to-earth and a delight to read."
"Most of us make our way through the world without thinking a lot about what we bring to our encounters with it. Lisa Feldman Barrett does — and what she has to say about our perceptions and emotions is pretty mind-blowing."
"[Barrett's] book, chock-full of startling, science-backed findings, is an entertaining and engaging read."
"Ever wonder where your emotions come from? Lisa Barrett, a world expert in the psychology of emotion, has written the definitive field guide to feelings and the neuroscience behind them."
“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.”
"After reading How Emotions Are Made, I will never think about emotions the same way again. Lisa Barrett opens up a whole new terrain for fighting gender stereotypes and making better policy."
“This meticulous, well-researched, and deeply thought out book reveals new insights 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.”
“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.”
“Everything you thought you knew about what you feel and why you feel it turns out to be stunningly wrong. Lisa 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.”
“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. Through vivid examples and sharp, clear prose, How Emotions are Made defends a bold new vision of the most central aspects of human nature.”
“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.”
“How Emotions Are Made offers a grand new conception of emotions—what they are, where they come from, and (most importantly) what they aren’t. Brain science is the art of the counterintuitive and Lisa Barrett has a remarkable capacity to make the counterintuitive comprehensible. This book will have you smacking your forehead wondering why it took so long to think this way about the brain.”
“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.”
“Extraordinarily well written, Lisa Barrett’s How Emotions are Made chronicles a paradigm shift in the science of emotion. But more than just a chronicle, this book is a brilliant work of translation, translating the new neuroscience of emotion into understandable and readable terms."
"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."
"[Barrett] presents a new neuroscientific explanation of why people are more swayed by feelings than by facts. [She] progressively builds her case, writing in a conversational tone and using down-to-earth metaphors... [Her] theories of emotion and the human brain set forth here are revolutionary...."
"A well-argued, entertaining disputation of the prevailing view that emotion and reason are at odds. [Barrett contents that] we are responsible for our individual actions, of course, but we also bear responsibility for working to eliminate racial prejudice, gender stereotyping, and the like from our society.... [This] has important legal as well as moral implications and leads into the thorny questions surrounding free will. A highly informative, readable, and wide-ranging discussion."
"How Emotions are Made is a tour de force in the quest to understand how we perceive, judge and decide. It lays the groundwork to address many of the mysteries of human behavior. I look forward to how this more accurate view of emotion will help my clients in athletics and trading."
"With How Emotions Are Made, Lisa Feldman Barrett has set the terms of debate for emotion theory in the 21st century. In clear, readable prose, she invites us to question both lay and expert understandings of what emotions are — and she musters an impressive body of data to suggest new answers. Barrett’s theory of how we construct emotions has major implications for law, including the myth of dispassionate judging. Her 'affective science manifesto for the legal system' deserves to be taken seriously by theorists and practitioners alike."
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 National Institutes of Health Director's Pioneer Award for her groundbreaking research on emotion in the brain, and is an elected member of the Royal Society of Canada. She lives in Boston.