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  • The secret history of emotions

    The Chronicle of Higher Education - 03/05/2017

    Pick up any psychology textbook or read Wikipedia, and you’ll see some variation of that story: that emotions are inherited through natural selection and located in specific parts of the brain that trigger distinct reactions — the “fingerprints” of emotion — in the face and body. See a snake slither across your path, for example, and a “fear circuit” is said to cause your heart to race, your eyes to widen, your voice to shriek. If you’ve ever heard that emotions live in a “limbic system” in the brain, that you have a “lizard brain” that triggers your emotions, or that fear lives in a region called the amygdala, those ideas are rooted in the same story. So is the movie Inside Out, a children’s fantasy about emotions as individual characters in the brain, which was described by National Public Radio as “remarkably true to what scientists have learned about the mind, emotion, and memory.”

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