What Affective Neuroscience Tells Us About Emotions and How to Manage Them

You probably think you know a lot about emotions. You experience them directly on a daily basis, you can name most of them, and you see them expressed in others. You’ve likely been taught that emotions are discrete, universal, and that you’re better off suppressing them or otherwise overcoming them with reason. This is the conventional view of emotion, and it has been handed down to you through millennia of intellectual history. It’s also entirely misguided. 

In Emotional: How Feelings Shape Our Thinking, theoretical physicist and science popularizer Leonard Mlodinow shows us why the traditional view of emotion fails to hold up to scientific scrutiny—in particular to the latest findings of affective neuroscience—and how a new picture is emerging of emotion as a core component of cognition—integrated with and complementary to reason. 

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Why Your Conscious Experience is Nothing More Than a Controlled Hallucination

One way to think about perception, probably the most natural way, is to compare it to a window, where your mind simply reads out reality exactly as it is. That chair over in the corner, for instance, is the exact shape, color, and texture that you perceive it to be, and your mind is simply capturing this object exactly as it exists in the world. 

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