In Art Of Coaching Podcast, Podcasts

The job of scientists is a tough one – to take complex, multifaceted, messy concepts, and do their best to simplify them in a way that is understandable and digestible to the general public.

However, today’s guest, Dr. Lisa Feldman Barrett,  warns that if something is too simple, we probably shouldn’t believe it.  Especially when it comes to human behavior and emotions, there’s nothing simple about it – because variation is the norm – not averages.  And in today’s episode, Dr. Barrett explains exactly why that is and how it should change the way we view and approach our interactions.

Dr. Barrett is among the top 1% most cited scientists in the world for her revolutionary research in psychology and neuroscience. She is a University Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Northeastern University, and she holds appointments at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, where she serves as Chief Science Officer for the Center of Law, Brain and Behavior. In addition to the books 7 ½ Lessons About the Brain and How Emotions Are Made, Dr. Barrett has published over 260 peer reviewed scientific papers.

Not only do we dive into the scientific research that disproves the way many of us have been led to view emotions, Dr. Barrett also does a phenomenal job of speaking to these concepts in a way that helps us apply it to our daily lives. Specifically, we address

  • “The Great Man Theory” – why there is no one-size fits all approach to emotions and what they mean
  • How understanding emotional constructs on a deeper level can make people more adept at navigating social situations
  • The physiological and psychological processes of how we give meaning to our emotions
  • Specific instances where knowing this information can directly influence life outcomes for you and those you impact daily

Referenced Resources:


Book: How Emotions Are Made

Book:  7 ½ Lessons About the Brain 

TED Talk: You Aren’t At the Mercy of Your Emotions

Research Article: Knowing what you’re feeling and knowing what to do about it

We are long time fans of Dr. Barrett’s work at AoC.  One of the main places we use her research is in our approach to our speaking engagements and live events.  If you’d like to learn how you can do the same, and get live practice and feedback doing so, check out our upcoming Speaker School – our last live event of the year – held on November 4th & 5th in Phoenix, AZ.  This live 2 day experience not only gives you the knowledge you need to understand your audience and speak to them in a way they understand, but provides you with a safe environment to fail, one filled with people who want you to succeed, and are there to give you the feedback and encouragement you need to take steps forward.  There are only a few spots left, so secure your spot today!

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