Joy, Guilt, Anger, Love: What Neuroscience Can--and

Joy, Guilt, Anger, Love: What Neuroscience Can--and Can't--Tell Us About How We Feel Joy, Guilt, Anger, Love What Neuroscience Can and Can t Tell Us about How We Feel by Giovanni Frazzetto Joy, Guilt, Anger, Love is an engaging book on what neuroscience can tell us about our emotions Neuroscientist, Dr Giovanni Frazzetto s narrates amusing personal stories in which he applies the latest of neuroscience with the purpose of describing scientifically how we feel This interesting 321 page book includes the following seven chapters 1 Anger Hot Eruptions, 2 Guilt An Indelib Joy, Guilt, Anger, Love What Neuroscience Can and Can t Tell Us about How We Feel by Giovanni Frazzetto Joy, Guilt, Anger, Love is an engaging book on what neuroscience can tell us about our emotions Neuroscientist, Dr Giovanni Frazzetto s narrates amusing personal stories in which he applies the latest of neuroscience with the purpose of describing scientifically how we feel This interesting 321 page book includes the following seven chapters 1 Anger Hot Eruptions, 2 Guilt An Indelible Stain, 3 Anxiety Fear of the Unknown, 4 Grief Presence in the Absence, 5 Empathy The Truth Behind the Curtains, 6 Joy Fragments of Bliss, and 7 Love Syndromes and Sonnets.Positives 1 Engaging and accessible prose 2 Neuroscience is one of my favorite topics This book focuses on our emotions 3 The book is laid out logically and is very easy to follow and understand Frazzetto is very likeable and does a good job of balancing a narrative of his personal experiences with neuroscience 4 Good use of diagrams to help the reader understand basic neuroscience.5 Does a very good job throughout the book of disclosing what we do know versus what we don t know scientifically about our emotions Acknowledges that neuroscience is in its infancy and we must be careful not to jump to conclusions However, no neuroscientist would ever tell you that variation in a gene such as MAOA is alone sufficient to determine violent behavior or to make someone a criminal 6 Surprisingly, makes great use of lesser known contributions of Charles Darwin In 1872, about a dozen years after On the Origin of Species, Darwin published a beautiful volume called The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, his biggest legacy to the field of psychology 7 One of the great disclosures of neuroscience is the compelling link between our brains and behavior, particularly when the brain has been damaged 8 The importance of emotions in decision making Damasio s ground breaking experiments entirely revised the predominant theories that confined decision making to the realm of rationality and established a new theory according to which emotion is essential in decision making and our most seemingly rational choices Emotion and reason are not two exclusive functions of the brain There exists a mutual dependency between the two 9 An interesting look at aggression In the case of antisocial and violent behavior, factors as diverse as childhood abuse or neglect, unstable family relationships or exposure to violence have all been found to be influential It is the presence of the gene in combination with a hostile environment that increases the possibility of developing antisocial behavior 10 A good job of describing what neuroscience has learned about guilt and how guilt is connected to concepts of moral purity For me at least, there s no way gazing at an fMRI image can help draw definite conclusions about the sense of guilt, nor map its exact locus, let alone find out how to assuage it 11 Good advice on how to handle anxiety We can learn to avoid being gripped by anxiety, not by worrying or withdrawing from life for this would simply reinforce our anxiety symptoms but by actively turning away from negative thoughts, engaging in pleasurable activities and adopting constructive behavior 12 The future of psychiatric neuroscience Research in psychiatric neuroscience is heading towards the identification of biomarkers These are measurable biological values that work as proof of some distinct change in the body For instance, high levels of gonadotropin in a woman s urine are the biomarker of her pregnancy 13 Amusingly, uses theatre as a vehicle to teach readers about empathy The power of the mirror neurons has resonated widely within the theatre world especially, because it provides a fresh theory to probe the mysterious and tacit understanding between actors and audience 14 Presents peculiar aspects of pleasure and joy In fact, of the many emotional sounds she used to probe the auditory capacity of the mirroring system, laughter was the most powerful Basically, just hearing someone laugh can prompt a smile on your face 15 The health benefits of being positive In general, a positive disposition does improve physical health Feeling calm, cheerful and strong as opposed to sad, tense or angry can even increase your resistance to developing a cold 16 A look at the science of happiness Seven main factors that contribute to happiness health, employment, income, freedom, personal values, family, and social relationships and friends Of all the factors influencing our emotional well being, by far the most significant is the establishment of social and emotional bonds 17 Provocative questions So, the question is can love be studied in the laboratory and trapped in a test tube Indeed, from a neuroscience perspective, love is still only sparsely understood Neuroscientists have the curiosity and ambition to dissect the wonder of love into its neural components An increasing number of studies involving genetics, neurochemistry and brain imaging have sought to explain all phases and kinds of love, from the passionate establishment of romantic bonds to sexual pleasure, maternal love, relationship attachment and the desolate experience of rejection 18 Many examples of how the brain functions In the case of fear, the brain is plastic its neuronal wiring and the genetic expression underlying it can be actively changed Epigenetic modification continues even after childhood Whatever happened in childhood, there is still room for change, development and discovery 19 A good epilogue that wraps everything nicely The fact that emotion guides reasoning overturns centuries of mistaken assumptions about our rationality and the way we face choices That our emotional experience writes itself somehow in our bodies, in our neurons, to guide our instinct and intuition, and that we may have discovered where in the brain this inscription occurs is an irresistible notion Equally, the discovery of the plasticity of the brain is of great relevance if we think of its meaning and importance in, for instance, overriding unwanted patterns of fear, or even honing our approach to love There is endless wonder in the images of neuroscience Yet they do not cover the entire breadth of an emotion 20 Notes and references and a formal bibliography provided.Negatives 1 The book lacks depth, it s intended for the masses and Dr Frazzetto clearly made the decision to go for clarity and accessibility over neuroscientific jargon 2 Many topics of interest within neuroscience were not covered As an example, are there gender differences in the brain 3 Some North American readers may be put off by the use of British English Words like learnt are used over learned, as an example.In summary, I had fun with this book It s light, entertaining and provides good information on what we know scientifically about our emotions I also like very much that Dr Frazzetto doesn t oversell neuroscience and recognizes the challenges involved Accessible for the masses, I recommend it Further recommendations We Are Our Brains D.F Swaab, Human by Michael S Gazzaniga, Decisive and Switch by Chip and Dan Heath The Chemistry Between Us by Larry Young and Brian Alexander, Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely, Subliminal by Leonard Mlodinow, The Science of Love by Robin Dunbar, by Martin E P Seligman, Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, The Believing Brain by Michael Shermer, and The Tell Tale Brain by V.s Ramachandran All books reviewed by your truly Neuroscientist Giovanni Frazzetto enters the restless realm of human emotion through the portals of physiology, genetics, history, art and philosophy Anger, guilt, anxiety, grief, empathy, joy and love are anatomized in turn, enlivened with research on everything from the role of monoamine oxidase A in anger to the engagement of opioid receptors as we thrill to music And who knew that surrealist Salvador Dali created an art installation in the shape of a giant caterpillar to explore the process of sedationNature Is science ever enough to explain why we feel the way we feel In this engaging account, renowned neuroscientist Giovanni Frazzetto blends cutting edge scientific research with personal stories to reveal how our brains generate our emotions He demonstrates that while modern science has expanded our knowledge, investigating art, literature, and philosophy is equally crucial to unraveling the brain s secrets What can a brain scan, or our reaction to a Caravaggio painting, reveal about the deep seat of guilt Can ancient remedies fight sadness effectively than antidepressants What can writing poetry tell us about how joy works Structured in seven chapters encompassing common human emotions anger, guilt, anxiety, grief, empathy, joy, and love Joy, Guilt, Anger, Love offers a way of thinking about science and art that will help us to fully understand ourselves and how we feel I enjoyed the bits about neuroscience and research made me want to learnI was less interested in the digressions into the author s life, especially when he was talking about his own poetry. The relationship between the scientific working of the brain and the impact on emotions has been brought out nicely The recent developments in neuroscience have helped us understand us better and also find ways of being in a particular state of emotion Am sure this is a pioneering effort and needs to be read. A real renaissance mix of art, philosophy, and science The author casually drops mention of his relationship with another man in the last chapter on love Which is as it should be, sexuality doesn t make a difference to science I also have thoughts about the moral dilemma he presents in the chapter on guilt.So, two scenarios in one, you re at a wedding and there s a drowning child and to rescue her you ll have to ruin your expensive suit or dress or shoes or whatever In the second, there s A real renaissance mix of art, philosophy, and science The author casually drops mention of his relationship with another man in the last chapter on love Which is as it should be, sexuality doesn t make a difference to science I also have thoughts about the moral dilemma he presents in the chapter on guilt.So, two scenarios in one, you re at a wedding and there s a drowning child and to rescue her you ll have to ruin your expensive suit or dress or shoes or whatever In the second, there s a starving child in Africa and your financial contribution can save her life The Anger Guilt Joy Love book is arguing that it s the emotional valence that makes the one situation obvious and the other nebulous.I say that there sthan emotions at play, but also community connections Like yeah, you ruin your suit, and then everyone at the wedding hails you as a hero The ruined suit gains you social credit as a sacrifice you ve made And in the second situation, who is this writer of a letter to you You don t know them, you don t have any reason to trust them There s no payoff for sending them money, no visible reward in return Humans are social animals, and context and connections are important to take into account when figuring out what makes us tick Joy, Guilt, Anger, Love What Neuroscience Can and Can t Tell Us About How We Feel is an alluring book that consists of a mix with intricate research on how neuroscience is behind emotions along with readable, personal stories This book gives insight on how our emotions might work which is something that is not often talked about Because of how the author provides his personal experiences, it is an easy read and a great way to dive into the world of psychology and neuroscience This book is Joy, Guilt, Anger, Love What Neuroscience Can and Can t Tell Us About How We Feel is an alluring book that consists of a mix with intricate research on how neuroscience is behind emotions along with readable, personal stories This book gives insight on how our emotions might work which is something that is not often talked about Because of how the author provides his personal experiences, it is an easy read and a great way to dive into the world of psychology and neuroscience This book is laid out logically and easy to follow The facts are researched thoroughly with case studies, evidence, and examples in a non intimidating way Frazzetto does a fascinating job of balancing his personal experiences and emotions with neuroscience Throughout the book, he explains what we do know and what we don t know scientifically about our emotions The recent developments in neuroscience help us find ways of being in a particular state of emotion and how we deal with them This book caused me to think about the role emotions play into our lives and how they can affect us This is a very informative and compelling read I recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning about psychology or how the mind can work and develop Overall, I was captivated by this riveting book This is exactly the kind of book I needed to read at this point in my life Frazzetto has seven chapters for seven emotions anger, guilt, anxiety, grief, empathy, joy, and love Each topic includes a mix of literary quotes, personal connections to his life, neuroscience, and most importantly, wisdom Because he isolates each emotion as a topic, the focus on his message remains consistently clear.For example, his chapter on Empathy I found amazing He uses the stage and actors to demonstrate his This is exactly the kind of book I needed to read at this point in my life Frazzetto has seven chapters for seven emotions anger, guilt, anxiety, grief, empathy, joy, and love Each topic includes a mix of literary quotes, personal connections to his life, neuroscience, and most importantly, wisdom Because he isolates each emotion as a topic, the focus on his message remains consistently clear.For example, his chapter on Empathy I found amazing He uses the stage and actors to demonstrate his point actors mine routinely the feelings embedded in the text to portray which requires them to see how another person feels thus, look to actors to be the most empathetic people around they model empathy Since I have been known to act in community theater shows, I immediately connected to this chapter Additionally, I gained from reading about Anxiety Fear and how it cripples us Guilt showed me that I have the tendency to adopt shame from my actions when all I really needed to do was make amends and correct my pattern Joy is one of my favorite chaptersinspirational I want to live in the realm of joy Reading Frazzetto helped me to see how Not quite what I was hoping for, but I was largely going off of conjecture Imagine a neuroscience 101 class on emotions and that is basically what we have here It was good, but it wasn t anything particularly great or useful Just a quick rundown from a historical, anecdotal, practical, and scientific view It could use about 1 3 less explanation, particularly with physical signs for each emotion smiling, furrowed brows, etc and the history of the science behind studying each emotion Darwi Not quite what I was hoping for, but I was largely going off of conjecture Imagine a neuroscience 101 class on emotions and that is basically what we have here It was good, but it wasn t anything particularly great or useful Just a quick rundown from a historical, anecdotal, practical, and scientific view It could use about 1 3 less explanation, particularly with physical signs for each emotion smiling, furrowed brows, etc and the history of the science behind studying each emotion Darwin, Freud, etc That probably makes it soundboring than it was It still had some interesting knowledge and it had some great definitions for what differing emotions are anxiety, grief, pleasure joy, etc I would probably not really recommend it unless someone expressly said they like neuroscience and just want basic rundowns of emotions from that perspective I enjoyed this book..was a bit hard for me due to the scientific neuroscience information, and i come from a completely different background, yet, the author tried to simply it..i loved how he connected emotions to philosophy and art..this mix between neuroscience, emotions, science, philosophy, and art was really amazing and captivating..thank you Very insightful as a beginner s venture into psychology neuroscience, especially when it concerns emotions Everything is explained well with examples, case studies, and empirical research.


About the Author: Giovanni Frazzetto

Giovanni Frazzetto grew up on the South East coast of Sicily After high school, he moved to the UK to study science at University College London and in 2002 he received a PhD from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg In his work, Giovanni connects literature and science He has contributed to the international magazines Nature and Science and has written for Haaretz, the Irish Times, the Financial Times, Village Magazine, the Huffingtom Post and Psychology Today.In 2008, for his cross disciplinary and science communication efforts he was awarded the John Kendrew Young Scientist Award Giovanni loves the sea, cooking, multimedia storytelling, whistling and learning foreign languages He is fluent in Italian, German and French, and has conversational Portuguese, Greek and Russian and basic Hebrew He has started to learn Irish He is not good at giving street directions He now lives in D n Laoghaire, Ireland.


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