- The way I see it:
Based on Lisa Feldman Barrett decades' of research, it looks like emotions are not what we thought they were.
They are not universally expressed and recognized. You might feel that emotions are hardwired brain reactions, that your brain is prewired with mythical emotions circuits that you are born with.
But you are not.
Emotions are not built in at birth, they are built. They don't come by default.
What are they then really? Emotions are guesses that your brain constructs in the moment trying to answer: What's this most likely, based on my past experience?
Your brain comes prewired with some feelings. Simple feelings that come with the physiology of your body: calm, agitation, comfort, discomfort... but those are not emotions, they are just summaries of what's going on inside your body. Like a barometer.
The problem is that those physiologically connected sensations are too broad, not detailed enough, and in order to act, you need detail to know what to do next about them.
How do you get details? With predictions. Using past experience based on similar situations to try to make meaning.
Predictions are how your brain works. Predictions are primal, they help us make sense of the world in a quick and efficient way. Predictions link the sensations in your body with what's going on around you in the world. And sometimes those constructions are emotions.
Based on that, we can say that emotions are somehow then made by you. Can we then be the architect of our experience? And for so much more responsible of our emotions?
Lisa Feldman Barrett, after more than 25 years scientific studies can today affirm that yes, more than you think. Watch it here.
- Ted Talk, by Lisa Feldman Barrett,