One day at graduate school, one of Lisa Feldman Barrett’s colleagues asked her out on a date. She didn’t really fancy him, but she had been in the lab all day and felt like a change of scenery, so she agreed to go to the local coffee shop. As they chatted, however, she started to become flushed in the face, her stomach was churning, and her head seemed to whirl. Maybe she was wrong, she thought: perhaps she really did like him. By the time they left, she’d already agreed to go on a second date.
How could someone mistake the rush of an infection for the fever of love? A psychologist at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, Barrett has spent her career examining the ways we construct emotions, culminating in a recent book – How Emotions Are Made – and her experience on that date is just one of many examples that illustrate the ways our feelings can confound us.
Read the whole story: BBC