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Northeastern professor named president-elect for the Association of Psychological Science

Psychology professor Lisa Feldman Barrett, whose research in the field of affective neuroscience has upended conventional wisdom on the nature of emotions, has been named president-elect for the Association of Psychological Science.

“It’s a very exciting and also humbling experience, and I’m very grateful because it’s been a long road. Science is not an activity with immediate gratification,” said Barrett, University Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Northeastern. “This designation gives me an opportunity to have an impact on the field more broadly in terms of the challenges that the science is facing, and also to introduce some of my own thoughts and initiatives for how I think the science can develop.”

Barrett was also recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

In a recent study, Barrett and her co-authors found that physical, bodily changes during anger and other emotions can widely vary. This finding challenges the long-held belief that each emotion has its own bodily fingerprint.

Barrett’s most recent book, How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain, published last year, and her TED Talk, You aren’t at the mercy of your emotions—your brain creates them, has been viewed more than 2 million times.

“Lisa Feldman Barrett is a highly innovative scientist whose work has truly transformed our understanding of emotions, said Kenneth Henderson, dean of the College of Science. “Her research, which primarily focuses on the nature of emotion from psychological, physiological, and neuroscience perspectives, is multidisciplinary at its core, incorporating insights from anthropology, philosophy, linguistics, and the history of psychology.”

Barret also received a 2018 Mentor Award from the Association of Psychological Science, which “recognizes those who have significantly fostered the careers of others, honoring APS members who masterfully help students and others find their own voice and discover their own research and career goals,” according to the organization’s website.

“Science has been my career for the past 25 years, and to some extent it’s been the guiding beacon in my life,” Barrett said. “It feels important to have the opportunity to give back and contribute to science in a different but hopefully also significant way.”

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