Northeastern professor Lisa Feldman Barrett elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Lisa Feldman Barrett, University Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Northeastern, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the society announced Wednesday. Barrett is one of 213 people from a wide range of disciplines and professions who have been elected as members of the Class of 2018.

Barrett’s election places her among esteemed scientists, humanitarians, and researchers, including 250 Nobel laureates and 60 Pulitzer Prize winners, who constitute its influential membership.

“I feel deeply honored,” Barrett said. “Something like this is never really the result of efforts by one single person. It belongs to a whole community of people working together—my lab, both current and former members, and my collaborators.”

Barrett has dedicated her career to challenging conventional wisdom in the field of affective neuroscience. Her research has dispelled the widely accepted theory that emotions are distinct mental categories with biological signatures that correspond to specific regions of the brain. She has written a book on the subject, How Emotions Are Made, and her TED Talk, You aren’t at the mercy of your emotions—your brain creates them, has been viewed nearly two million times.

“Lisa’s research has transformed our understanding of the psychology of human emotions,” said Joseph E. Aoun, president of Northeastern University. “Her work at Northeastern has had an impact across disciplines, and this honor is testament to that.”

Barrett joins Aoun and two other members of the Northeastern community who have been elected to the Academy of Arts and Sciences: Matthews Distinguished University Professor of Music Judith Tick, who was elected in 2004, and Nadine Aubry, dean of the College of Engineering and University Distinguished Professor, who was elected in 2017.

“Membership in the Academy is not only an honor, but also an opportunity and a responsibility,” said Jonathan Fanton, president of the American Academy. “Members can be inspired and engaged by connecting with one another and through Academy projects dedicated to the common good. The intellect, creativity, and commitment of the 2018 Class will enrich the work of the Academy and the world in which we live.”

The new class will be inducted at a ceremony in October 2018 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.