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’re feeling? Does everyone experience happiness, sadness and anxiety the same way? What are emotions …


  1. "There are no emotion circuits" Oh! "you can train your mind" – make up your mind. And, she knows for a fact. Right. If there was any way to know "for a fact" something about the brain….ha! Open it up & look inside it & analyze it. You cannot. We only know what we know. That does not mean we know everything. She makes an awfully absolute statement. Sorry, but that is folly.

  2. I had crippling test anxiety and got just enough grades to not be classed as a failure. It was such battle. I wish I found this during my exams.

  3. If we apply this to society and how our justice system works we would learn a better way to address many of the issues that plague and have a huge impact on the success of our country today. For example, there is objective proof that minorities receive harsher sentencing than their counterparts. Due to how our justice system is structured people's perception, not the law determines the outcome of the sentencing. So fear of a certain group would justify the unjust treatment of these people. That's why we have a huge disproportion of unarmed minorities being shot and killed due to the assumption they are a threat. Without determent, punishment or reprimand for the officers when misjudgment occurs. If we admit it or not, ignoring these issues causes us to continue to make the worst decisions for our country as a whole.

  4. Dr: Predictions are what allow you to understand the words as they come out of my…


  5. This is interesting… Actually it speaks to spirituality more than intellectualism. If I think someone does not like me or is trying to hurt me, I will make myself sick by anxiety or desperation. Our brains dictate our true nature within us. If we CHOOSE negative thoughts or anxiety or varied negative input in the brain it is ourselves that create our "EMOTIONAL" response. This speaks in an indirect way to "the Secret," too.

  6. About emotions; " …they are not hardwired brain reactions that are uncontrollable…" what about psychopaths…aren't their emotions stemming from chemical reactions in the brain that are uncontrollable????

  7. Throws a wrench in the whole "words are violence" narrative, doesn't it? If we construct our own emotions then we are not merely victims of other people's words.

  8. Oh man! Why didn’t I see this video back when I was 5 years old? That would have saved me from so many emotional struggle in life! I loved it, and will indeed embrace the teachings she shared. Thank you 🙏

  9. I do not contest the scientific evidence for there being no built in emotions.
    But leaping to the conclusion of "responsibility of the individual" implies a few things for which less evidence is present and skips over some other possible causes for emotions and other facts like the pliability of the brain, but most importantly:

    -Responsibiliy implies a free will and there is quite strong evidence, we might not actually have any in the traditional sense.

    -Control over environment is implied in responsibily of the individual. Unless we are talking about "taking responsibility", which has more to do with crime and punishment, than the concept of responsibility. If continued discomfort is present from the environment, feeling sad or angry is a fully justifiable and possibly even healthy response.

    -Control over initial conditions is implied. (Like discomfort in the body through disease or comparitive intelligence which might lead to discomfort)

    -Some things, like language are not built in, but are there in potentia, leading to similar, but individually different expressions in brains, like the areas of Wernicke and Broca, which seem to express naturally, but cannot be pinned down in location. A more logical conclusion would be that the emergence of emotions functions in much the same way.

    -Emotions form a short term memory of subconscious experience. The experience of emotion can lead to thoughts that are consistent with the emotion. And behaviour and thoughts lead to new (or the same) emotions. This is usually a beneficient functioning, but also has a propensity to lead to a feedback loop in both directions. This can explain how people become stuck in one setting, or wildly oscillate between two. Mathematically this resembles a stange attractor in a chaotic system. In this context the word "responsibility" seems contrived.

    So I strongly contest the conclusion of "responsibility" for the individual as an absolute from the evidence of emotions NOT being built in. Scientific as this talk may sound, that conclusion from the given data is only an opinion…

    This being said, there is a good chance that taking into account you don´t have to value your emotions the way you normally do might improve your life beyond belief, if you suffer from depression.

    So if you don´t like the "responsibility" part at the end or her leading with a "lawfull" execution, just ignore it, or even better yet, see it as an opportunity to practice not being lead by emotion in your thoughts. (Which is fully justified, but will only serve to make you feel worse about something you cannot do anything about) Self medicate by making these things neutral. It´s just a TED talk. People, even scientists, have opinions and that doesn´t mean anything. It´s a good thing that interesting ideas get out there and you can learn a lot from somebody you don´t agree with.

  10. wait what! Why does this professor needed decades of data to show that! Hasn't she read any buddhist philosophy ever !?

  11. My expressed 'regret' about my last traffic infringement, however sincere, didn't bring about a reduction of the penalty or a forgiveness of the debt

  12. To add to her point… whenever my anxiety and racing thoughts creep up, I do notice I'm not breathing deeply, sometimes not breathing at all. Breathing again calms that. Crazy how physiological it is…

  13. But there is always that part of me that says im utterly nuts if I don't worry. If the worst most abbhorent is definitely possible to say the absolute least; How will I cope!?!?!? ……. Solutions have to worked on ASAP…. I'M really no different from any one else in that regard.

  14. I'd recheck youre comment as that has not been my experience..and I do have a rather long record of experience and that has not been my findings whatsoever.

  15. architect of your experience, can we say working spells and witchcraft? this is what shamans have been doing since the beginning.

  16. I'm bipolar and thanks to simply being aware of my own state and consciously compensating I have more self-control than the average person with no diagnosed disorder. She calls it being the architect of your experience, I've been calling it objective self-awareness for years. Most emotions are unconscious decisions which can become conscious, controlled ones fairly easily.

  17. Does somebody know why TED events uploaded here to YT aren't dated? Thanks.
    I would love to have this woman listen to Ed Snowden re Boston Bombing.

    I would also love to hear what she has to say about my racing brain. Mine makes it nearly impossible to fall asleep. Doesn't matter what happened during my day (nothing), what might need to happen tomorrow (nothing), and it is RACING, a million thoughts all over the place. Not omg what shall I make while my brat and cat cat are howling -zillions of thoughts.
    No amount of trying to focus and deep breathing, thinking of waiting in the car for someone is shopping, nothing helps. I take anxiety meds, I can fall asleep, period.

  18. She is basically saying what psychotherapists had known for decades from practice. People are capable of learning to react to things differently than before. And that the associations we learned as children can be undone. And consequently, you can change your emotions about something. Having said that, she still hasn't convinced me that nobody can read anybody else's emotions on their face (which was the opening point of the talk). There is something called the "attunement" when people closely pay attention to each other and it IS based on neurobiology. So, yes, it is totally possible to read somebody else's emotions.

  19. This really didn’t vibe with me at all…poor presentation and I don’t buy much that was said. The churning of the stomach is the same in anticipation of eating a cookie, and a feeling of dread at the hospital?? No. It’s not. There’s a massive massive difference. I don’t know, maybe there were some nuggets here but I’m not buying a huge amount of this.

  20. This talk helped me. As a lifelong sufferer of depression, this talk changed things for me. I'm using this information now, and these are the best answers I've ever heard.

  21. So when you're born screaming that's not an emotion because you haven't conceptualised it yet. And somehow you go from 0 to 1 despite 1 depending on 0. And when you hit puberty the only reason you have sexual desire is because of social constructivism, and the older you are the more emotions you get because they're based on experience – that makes sense. And we can't read faces, facial expressions mean absolutely nothing now. And when you're hospitalised for emotion problems, it's merely your interpretation that you could choose to control. And when a rat flees from a cat and screams to the local rats, none of these animals have any emotions because that would require them to construct them at the same level of process as human cognition. I could go on. The main thing that annoys me isn't the fiction but the way she persuades people to her way of thinking instead of letting what she deems to be mere scientific fact speak for itself.

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