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Mindful : October 2017
This book has made a sensation, since it claims to run counter to the prevailing thinking in the psychol- ogy of emotions, what Barrett calls the classical view of emotion. This view holds, according to Barrett, that we have emotion circuits in our brain built in since birth that cover a range of responses. Each of these has a kind of signature in various parts of our anatomy. If we’re experiencing fear, say, our face will show a telltale wide-eyed look while our palms may sweat, and so forth. Leading psychologists have done extensive work cataloging our range of emotions. Barrett first casts doubt on the evidence for these fixed emotions, arg uing that the names and ranges of emotional responses differ by culture and that even within a homogenous culture, people show much wider ranges of response than are captured by the research that purports to identify our emotional menu. She goes on to say that emotions are con- structed on the spot, not hard-wired. Our brains cre- ate emotions based on memory of previous responses to similar stimuli and these are based on culture and a variety of other factors. Further, she claims that clinging to the belief in hard-wired emotions makes us overconfident in assessing how people are feeling. We think we know more than we know. This is an intriguing work that has captured the attention of some mindfulness teachers, who feel this description may be more compatible with how we experience emotion in meditation. It remains to be seen whether she has overstated her differences, and some parts of the book are confusing, such as when she says emotions are not triggered, they are internally created. It’s hard to square that with the experience of someone at work driving you crazy. Also, the second half of the book, where she delves into self-help, shows that the laboratory is her more effective domain. HOW EMOTIONS ARE MADE The Secret Life of the Brain Lisa Feldman Barrett • Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Many of us fear flying but will happily ride our bike on a city street. Even when we intellectually know which poses a greater risk (cycling is much more dangerous), our behavior doesn’t seem to get in line. Author Steve Casner, a research psychologist and safety expert at NASA, has studied the accident-prone mind for years. Accident- and injury-related deaths steadily declined through the 20th centur y thanks to safety measures like seatbelts, smoke alarms, and air traffic systems. But they have been on the rise since the 1990s. In Careful, Casner shows us how our attitude toward risks—like our tendency to assume acci- dents are flukes—is adding insult to injury. Ultimately, he says, with a few tweaks to how we see ourselves and the world, we can save ourselves a lot of trouble. CAREFUL A User’s Guide to Our Injury-Prone Minds Steve Casner • Riverhead One of the first instructors in the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at the Center for Mindful- ness at the UMass Medical School, Rosenbaum knows what she’s talking about. The book is also aptly named, since she brings a great deal of heart to the topic. It’s anything but dry. For anyone interested in learning what MBSR is all about, and particularly for those who are learning how to present it to others, the shor t essays, instructions, and tools in this guide will be invaluable. THE HEART OF MINDFULNESS- BASED STRESS REDUCTION A MBSR Guide for Clinicians and Clients Elana Rosenbaum • PESI 78 mindful October 2017 reviews Bookmark This read...listen...download