How Emotions Are Made : The Secret Life Of The Brain!

Humans are probably one of the most interesting creations of life on earth. And even more intriguing is the human brain. To a person who is easily enticed by Neuroscience, this book is an easy catch. I picked this up the other day for I had this in mind since long.


This book is a very different book, for it is medical yet very simply and succinctly explained. Lisa Barrett has presented the facts and figures in such a pleasant way that it doesn’t take a medical degree [or, an extensive medical knowledge for that matter] to get through this. For someone who takes pleasure in the study of medicine and related concepts, this book is a treasure. Explained in layman terms, Lisa beautifully weaves her words through the medical terminology and study to finally talk about how emotions define us ultimately.

I recall a small instance of my experiences in life. I was visiting a dentist for my root canal treatment. I have had few dental cases in the past and having borne through the pain that a decayed tooth can put one through, thinking specifically about the pain that might be caused due to the treatment, was pretty obvious. Note that the dentists are professionals enough who take due care in not causing any discomfort to their patients. And I found myself there in the dental chair getting treated with all sorts of needles, drilling machines and the like. I had been under anesthesia effect and I could no longer feel any sensation in the affected area. In spite of all this and the medical efficiency during the course of my treatment, I found myself cringing out of a ‘probable’ pain that the procedure might cause me, based on my earlier experiences. But then, it never really occurred. I realized I have been fooled by the probable pain that had got imbibed in my mind.

This realization made me ponder but with no conclusions. It was when I started absorbing what this wonderful book had to offer, I found myself relating to what I had experienced earlier. There is a concept that our brain works us through based on what is termed as ‘prediction’. Lisa says the brain tries to predict things/facts based on our earlier experiences and tries to build a picture for us and this results in developing the associated emotion which makes us feel what we feel. As such, in my case, my brain seems to have tricked me into believing that I am likely to be caused pain, which in fact was not the case. In such cases where in the result is something different, the brain tries to correct that up based on our experience.

There are a lot of such concepts explained beautifully by Lisa on how emotions are caused and what different emotions can impact us. This leads to a sort of introspection and has the capacity to;

  • Alter our thought processes.
  • Understand the intricacies of our thinking.
  • Apprise us about the impact of an emotion on us and its consequences.
  • Understand how our brain works.
  • Make us understand as to what exactly happens to us as we think.
  • Fathom the potential of this most amazing gift of life.

This book is highly recommended for it is in itself a great piece of work.

Happy Reading! ❤