Our guest today is Dr. Lisa Feldman Barrett. Lisa is among the top 0.1% of 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.
In addition to the books Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain and How Emotions are Made, Dr. Barrett has published over 275 peer-reviewed scientific papers appearing in Science, Nature Neuroscience, and other top journals in psychology and cognitive neuroscience, as well as six academic volumes published by Guilford Press. She writes regularly about science in the popular press, including The New York Times, The Guardian, Scientific American, BBC Science Focus, Time magazine and more.
She also has a popular TED talk, which we have linked in her bio, that has been viewed over 6.5 million times.
Dr. Barrett received a National Institutes of Health Director’s Pioneer Award for her revolutionary research on emotion in the brain. These highly competitive, multimillion-dollar awards are given to scientists of exceptional creativity who are expected to transform biomedical and behavioral research.
Among her many accomplishments, Dr. Barrett has testified before Congress, presented her research to the FBI, consulted with the National Cancer Institute, and been a featured guest on public television, podcasts, and radio programs worldwide. She recently did a 2-hour podcast with Andrew Huberman, which is definitely worth checking out!
She was president of the Association for Psychological Science in 2019–2020 and co-founded the Society for Affective Science. She is also an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and the Royal Society of Canada.
In this episode:
- How she became THE person who would teach the world how emotions are REALLY made.
- How emotions are made (they aren’t simply triggered reactions).
- She walks us through an instance of emotion (sadness, anxiety).
- Her thoughts on adverse childhood experiences/trauma and disordered eating
- How metabolic functioning affects everything and why we need to be aware when doing metabolically expensive things (uncertainty, neural processing).
- How people predict and experience pain
- It’s not our thoughts that create feelings, but feelings that create our thoughts.
- How our brain writes a story that makes predictions about what will happen, and this becomes our reality.
- Can we teach our brains to make different predictions?
- How emotional concepts are taught to us by our parents
- Actionable tools listeners can use to manage their body budget.
- What is next for her?
- What would she tell herself if she could tell a younger version of yourself something about emotions?