Lisa Feldman Barret, a Toronto-born academic who is the Professor of Psychology at Northeastern University, recently worked with TED to deliver a talk on emotions, which shows how emotions manifest in the brain, and how people can help to control them.
To show her audience how this can be done, Barret considers a number of case studies, which examine how remorse and other emotions can't be detected, as they aren't universal expressions that are uncontrollable. She continues her talk by considering the tests she and her team have done, which have included looking at facial muscle reactions, cognitive functions, and more. The results of these tests have shown that no brain contains pre-wired "emotion circuits," but rather take guesses that the brain constructs in the moment.
As Barret shows, emotions are the result of predictions based off of one's experience. Due to this, the meaning behind emotions is made within one's mind, and can therefore be controlled through careful thought processes and awareness. With her talk on emotions, Barret shows her audience that they have more power than they think they do when it comes to these processes, by training their brains by maintaining a determination to overcome feelings that might prevent them from succeeding or living comfortably.