New York Magazine:
The “classical view” of emotion — a bundle of ideas dating back to the ancient Greeks — says that emotions are best described as something that happen to you. In this line of thinking, emotions are the antagonist of cool, calculated intellect; each emotion has a particular “center” in your brain and “expression” on your face.
Lisa Feldman Barrett, director of Northeastern University’s Interdisciplinary Affective Science Laboratory, has a bone to pick with this classical view, which in her new book she calls a “two thousand year old assumption.” Based on decades of her and others’ research, How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain, out Tuesday, is a thorough, thoughtful skewering of the classical view, something she seeks to supplant with a “constructive view,” which contends that emotions are a sort of memory-based reasoning. “Emotions are not your reactions to your world,” she tells Science of Us. “They are how you make sense of what’s going on inside your body in relation to the world.”
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