You aren’t at the mercy of your emotions — your brain creates them | Lisa Feldman Barrett


Can you look at someone's face and know what they feel? Does everyone experience happiness, sadness and anxiety in the same way? What are emotions anyway? For the past 25 years, psychology professor Lisa Feldman Barrett has mapped facial expressions, scanned brains and analyzed hundreds of physiology studies to understand what emotions really are. She shares the results of her exhaustive research and explains how we can have more control over our emotions than we think.

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    You aren’t at the mercy of your emotions — your brain creates them | Lisa Feldman Barrett

    Comments 26

    1. I'm spectical about this talk.

      She so confidently stated that all previous research were wrong, qoute "we have misunderstood the nature of emotion for a very lone time". One should always be careful of this kind of hubris.

    2. If the cavemen thought about whether they should be afraid of a predator or not before actually choosing to feel that fear, they never would have survived. Your emotions actually come first, this is why so many people have to go to therapy to figure out exactly why they're feeling a certain way.

    3. This is something everyone really needs to know. All this obsession about caring about other's emotions is ridiculous. Meditation is a good way to go about it, and to paraphrase what a guru said (Sadhguru) 'responsibility over reactivity'. Respond to situations, rather than react to them.

    4. Seems logical enough; in control of one's own emotions. But, that depends on thze mindset of an individual and if one believes it, Theodorius Ghandeli thinks.

    5. If only she understood that free will is an illusion she would understand that our emotions actually do rule us. Or, more specifically, the chemicals in our brains.

    6. 🙂 i have an exam next week.. Lets see if knowing my fear is stupid helps me to concentrate!

    7. Extremely intetesting. But i can't help but to wonder how mood disorders fit into this model. Or, neurotransmitters and the psychiatric medications which alter them.

    8. I have a VERY tough time communicating with people because I am extremely sensitive to the expressions on the face of the person or persons I am talking to and I lose track of my thought process. Ms. Barrett, when you are speaking on a subject and you look at all the different expressions of the faces in the audience, how do you control your brain to remain on the topic that you are speaking about? Thank you for your talk.

    9. Obviously this woman does not know anything about people that have suffered childhood trauma and flashbacks.
      The Bomb in the Brain series on YT has oppositional research on this subject.

    10. Anybody sensed the serious logical flaws in this speech? The speaker is confusing a few different concepts.

    11. This is a bizarre talk! More marketing than research, more constructivism than scientific facts. Lisa Feldman Barrett ignores thousands of studies in the neuroscience of emotional circuits in the brain. Of course, cognitive reactions to emotions exist and depending on these cognitive reactions, individuals can cope better or worse with certain stimuli, but to deny the existence of emotional circuits in the brain (functioning independent of cognitive follow-up processes) is just fiction. Feldman Barrett also is wrong about the ascription of responsibility in criminal law. The relevance of «remorse» is completely overstated. It is rather the mental state at the moment of committing the crime that counts the most. An offender acting intentionally, not being under the influence of an extreme emotions (or even a mental impairment), is held fully responsible for his crime. «Anything goes» in the research on emotions?

    12. How about babies! Their brains can't predict and build emotions.. They cry when they are hungry! some emotions are built in.

    13. Responsibility is all about need to take decision (under any emotion) and think of consequences.

    14. My prediction when I hear the word "responsible" is that I am going to be punished!! ..

    15. Anil Seth’s TED talk is much better on this.

      Also, while it is true that we are responsible it has to be understood in the context of a whole range of genetics and experiences you are not responsible for- you didn’t pick your genes, your parents, your upbringing etc and yet you are responsible because it can be no other way.

    16. She didn't say anything important or constructive… who cares about the smell of cookies? There are much more complicated emotions than gluttony…

    17. After watching the video, I came to the conclusion that emotions are the information produced in our body as a result of applying a kind of “believe structure function” to the information perceived by our senses. Therefore, when the emotional distress is too high, we might have three ways of coping:

      1. Adapt the believe structure function (change the way we deal with things)
      2. Reduce the amount of information perceived (deal with less things)
      3. Channel the emotions into the creation of positive outcomes (use our emotions in our favor)

      A proper strategy to deal with mental problems might include the 3 dimensions. Sometimes the speaker emphasizes one of them (mostly the 3rd) or jump from one to the other (she mentions meditation and change habits) but she fails to present the three of them together and, specially, might lack empathy with the mentally ill.

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