Summary of The Emotional Brain

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The Emotional Brain book summary


7 Overall

5 Applicability

8 Innovation

6 Style


Joseph LeDoux works very hard in this book, but in many ways, his fairness and ambition get in his way. He sets out not only to explain how emotions work in the brain but also to review the neurological, philosophical, evolutionary and psychological theories that explain the emotions. LeDoux makes sure he is fair to each theory, but that means that he takes entire chapters to discuss ideas that he ultimately dismisses as stepping stones. This tactic is informative if you're interested in history, but it will only slow you down if you're looking for a practical discussion of how emotions work. In addition, despite LeDoux's careful explanations, analogies and diagrams, the theories are complex and therefore challenging. getAbstract recommends this book to patient readers seeking a strong overall background on the emotional functioning of the brain. Human resource managers and others seeking insight into people's feelings and responses will find it especially useful.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How emotions function;
  • What the history of theories about emotions tells us; and
  • Why understanding emotions is so challenging.

About the Author

Joseph LeDoux is a professor at New York University's Center for Neural Science and author of Synaptic Self as well as numerous academic articles on neuroscience.



Emotions and the Brain: A New Area for Researchers
Scientists who investigated the brain used to leave emotion out of the picture. Few asked what causes emotions and feelings of intuition. However, in recent years this has shifted. Interest in emotions has spiked for a number of reasons...

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