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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

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by Giovanni Frazzetto
 

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“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

Overview

“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 sedation?”
—Nature
 
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 more 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 more fully understand ourselves and how we feel.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
12/02/2013
Neuroscientist Frazzetto (How We Feel) takes a remarkable look at the power of human emotion and the overuse of science in justifying human nature. It is, as he states, “an irresistible notion,” but Frazzetto’s treatise on the role our brains play in everyday emotions is a refreshing take on the idea. Interweaving psychological and scientific experiments with endearing personal anecdotes and historical retellings, Frazzetto shows that we are, indeed, more than the sum of our brain scans. While his knowledge of case studies is impressive, it’s his own dealings with strong emotions like grief and love that make the book appealing. The eponymous emotions impact our quotidian experiences, and Frazzetto explores them beyond the laboratory, sharing the stories and experiences of such figures as Darwin, Freud, Brecht, and Caravaggio, as well as how their own intimate relationships with these emotions can now be analyzed through neuroscience. Frazzetto has produced an homage to the history and of mankind’s devotion to flights of the heart and sparks of the brain. Agent: Carrie Kania, Conville & Walsh Literary Agency (U.K.) (Feb.)
From the Publisher
“In Frazzetto’s book, the Italian researcher and writer offers a fine primer on six emotions plus empathy. But before diving into the biology of each emotion (the role of the amygdala in fear and of serotonin reuptake in grief), he inspects his target through the lenses of psychology, philosophy, art and personal experience. What you see is that poetry offers more insight into our feelings than does neuroanatomy or biochemistry.”

—Washington Post
 
“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 sedation?”
—Nature
 
“A remarkable look at the power of human emotion and the overuse of science in justifying human nature. . . . Refreshing. . . . Interweaving psychological and scientific experiments with endearing personal anecdotes and historical retellings, Frazzetto shows that we are, indeed, more than the sum of our brain scans. While his knowledge of case studies is impressive, it’s his own dealings with strong emotions like grief and love that make the book appealing. . . .  Frazzetto has produced an homage to the history and of mankind’s devotion to flights of the heart and sparks of the brain.”
—Publishers Weekly
 
“[An] intriguing book . . . . An enjoyable illumination of ‘that most private and shadowy territory, our emotions.”
—Kirkus Reviews
 
“A masterful meld of science, art, and memoir on what makes us human.”
—Allen Frances, author of Saving Normal
 
“Engaging... very refreshing. His analogies and images when explaining the science are often illuminating and sometimes inspired.”
—Henry Marsh, The Times, UK

“Wonderfully lucid.”
—Lisa Appignanesi, author of Mad, Bad and Sad and All About Love

“Intriguing... eye-opening. Frazzetto explains with admirable clarity.”
—James McConnachie, The Sunday Times, UK

“Frazzetto’s book guides readers through the latest neurological research, stopping at each revelation to question what has been discovered.”
—Philip Maughan, The New Statesman

“I finished feeling that I had learned a lot effortlessly ... his expressive style of writing is very enjoyable to read.”
—Matt Chorley, Popular Science UK
 

Kirkus Reviews
2014-01-04
A molecular biologist offers a meditation on the different ways in which we can know ourselves. "There is endless wonder in the images of neuroscience. Yet they do not cover the entire breadth of an emotion," writes Frazzetto, a founding member of the European Neuroscience and Society Network. He probes how we can combine the "incredible amount of information about the brain at our disposal" with our own intimate knowledge of our feelings. The author cites Darwin's seminal research on emotions expressed by animals and the cross-cultural universality of the human expression of emotions. "Feeling is emotion which has been rendered conscious," he writes. "Although emotions develop as biological processes, they culminate as personal mental experiences." Frazzetto finds fault with the current overemphasis on genetic determinism at the expense of ameliorative social and environmental determinants. Similarly, he suggests that emotional responses tested in a laboratory miss the essential social cues that determine our real-life responses to specific situations. "When your emotions are being measured inside a scanner you are often asked to perform distinct tasks [that are]…convenient substitutes for authentic fragments of life," he writes. The author offers a stringent criticism of the marketing of pharmaceuticals to treat depression as "an economic success [that] is not matched by improvements in the population's overall mental health," and he relates his own experiences of grief as a way to keep the deceased alive in memory. In the last sections of this intriguing book, Frazzetto references measurable vocalizations of pleasure heard when adolescent rats play and his own euphoric experiences of falling in love and composing a sonnet. As might be expected, he is critical of online dating, which "substitutes calculation for intuition." An enjoyable illumination of "that most private and shadowy territory, our emotions."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101595596
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/25/2014
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
856,534
File size:
3 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

Related Subjects

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
“In Frazzetto’s book, the Italian researcher and writer offers a fine primer on six emotions plus empathy. But before diving into the biology of each emotion (the role of the amygdala in fear and of serotonin reuptake in grief), he inspects his target through the lenses of psychology, philosophy, art and personal experience. What you see is that poetry offers more insight into our feelings than does neuroanatomy or biochemistry.”
—Washington Post
 
“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 sedation?”
—Nature
 
“A remarkable look at the power of human emotion and the overuse of science in justifying human nature. . . . Refreshing. . . . Interweaving psychological and scientific experiments with endearing personal anecdotes and historical retellings, Frazzetto shows that we are, indeed, more than the sum of our brain scans. While his knowledge of case studies is impressive, it’s his own dealings with strong emotions like grief and love that make the book appealing. . . .  Frazzetto has produced an homage to the history and of mankind’s devotion to flights of the heart and sparks of the brain.”
—Publishers Weekly
 
“[An] intriguing book . . . . An enjoyable illumination of ‘that most private and shadowy territory, our emotions.”
—Kirkus Reviews
 
“A masterful meld of science, art, and memoir on what makes us human.”
—Allen Frances, author of Saving Normal
 
“Engaging... very refreshing. His analogies and images when explaining the science are often illuminating and sometimes inspired.”
—Henry Marsh, The Times, UK

“Wonderfully lucid.”
—Lisa Appignanesi, author of Mad, Bad and Sad and All About Love

“Intriguing... eye-opening. Frazzetto explains with admirable clarity.”
—James McConnachie, The Sunday Times, UK

“Frazzetto’s book guides readers through the latest neurological research, stopping at each revelation to question what has been discovered.”
—Philip Maughan, The New Statesman

“I finished feeling that I had learned a lot effortlessly ... his expressive style of writing is very enjoyable to read.”
—Matt Chorley, Popular Science UK
 

Meet the Author

Giovanni Frazzetto was born and grew up in the southeast of Sicily. He studied science at University College London and received a Ph.D. from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany. He lives and works in London and Berlin.

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Joy, Guilt, Anger, Love: What Neuroscience Can--and Can't--Tell Us About How We Feel 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Toni0724 More than 1 year ago
Today and yesterday I've been reading the Love section of this book, and I almost finished it today, and just that one section was already fascinating to me!! I have no doubt that the rest of the book as well!!! It's so spot on with one's emotions and human nature and it isn't boring, it isn't dense; I'm find it SO engaging! The pretty cover caught my eye, and I'm so happy that it did!!