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The Psychology Podcast

From the Archives: Lisa Feldman Barrett || Surprising Truths about the Human Brain

The Psychology Podcast
The Psychology Podcast

We’re re-releasing one of our favorite episodes from the past year with Lisa Feldman Barrett.

Dr. Lisa Feldman Barrett is among the top one percent most cited scientists in the world for her revolutionary research in psychology and neuroscience. She is a University Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Northeastern University. She also holds appointments at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, where she is Chief Science Officer for the Center for Law, Brain & Behavior.

Her books include Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain and How Emotions are Made. She has published over 240 peer-reviewed, scientific papers appearing in Science, Nature Neuroscience, and other top journals. Dr. Barrett has been called “the most important affective scientist of our time”.

In this episode, I talk to renowned neuroscientist Dr. Lisa Feldman Barrett about emotions and the brain. She reveals what the true function of the brain is⎯and it’s not for thinking. We also discuss the impact of past experiences on our cognition and what we can do to overcome our own detrimental patterns. Further into our discussion, Dr. Lisa challenges the traditionally held view that emotions are universal. In her own theory of constructed emotion, she argues that variability in emotional expression exists due to socialization and language differences. We also touch on the topics of hallucinogens, culture, education, relationships, and authoritarianism.

Website: lisafeldmanbarrett.com

Twitter: @LFeldmanBarrett


00:01:42 Lisa’s interest in clinical psychology

00:03:53 A biological approach to emotions

00:06:29 Why do we have a neocortex?

00:14:49 The default mode network

00:21:47 The brain is not for thinking

00:25:06 Authoritarianism during economic hardship

00:32:04 Psychological entropy

00:35:33 The brain weather forecast

00:44:16 The mind-brain problem

00:47:37 Relationships are reflexive

00:51:46 Emotional expression isn’t universal

00:58:35 Why you shouldn’t trust psychology textbooks / 6 universal emotions?

01:03:03 Reaching out to Paul Ekman

01:10:42 The theory of constructed emotion

01:16:49 The role of socialization and language in emotions

01:23:43 The never-ending domain-general vs domain-specific debate in cognitive science

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