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Emotions: Why You React That Way

From the Show: HER
Summary: Human emotions are a tad more complex than you may have expected.
Air Date: 4/10/17
Duration: 34:29
Host: Michelle King Robson and Pam Peeke, MD
Guest Bio: Lisa Feldman Barrett, PhD
Dr. Lisa Feldman BarrettLisa Feldman Barrett, PhD, is a University Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Northeastern University, with appointments at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital in Psychiatry and Radiology.

She received a NIH Director’s Pioneer Award for her research on emotion in the brain.
Emotions: Why You React That Way
You may be fairly adept at identifying emotions when you see or experience them. But, do you know how the mind and body create emotions?

We’ve been taught that different switches are tripped, based on stimuli in your environment. The switches create your expressions and fuel your reactions to stimuli.

Your brain tries to match your behavior and emotion to the situation. Should you yell, run or faint in fear? Each mental event is a whole brain affair. Your neurons are firing all the time, not just taking a siesta until there is stimulation.

Your brain uses past experience to guess what will happen in the present moment. It continually prepares multiple choices for any potential situation. It makes its best selection for the given circumstance. It uses thinking, feeling and all of its wits to keep your body balanced.

Are Women More Emotional Than Men?

Both men and women would say that women tend to be more emotional. In truth, journaling emotions over several days will prove that neither is more emotional. Some individual women are less emotional than individual men. The stereotype is untrue. When women don’t demonstrate the degree of emotion that people expect, they are considered untrustworthy and cold.

Most importantly, your certainty about how someone else feels is not necessarily accurate. Your brain may be making the wrong guess. Be curious about others and curate more experiences. Give your brain more options for interpreting facial expressions and behavior.

Listen as Dr. Lisa Feldman Barrett joins Dr. Pamela Peeke to share more about how emotions really work.

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