Joseph LeDoux on the Emotional Brain

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux describes the underlying brain mechanisms that make us feel emotions. He's the author of The Emotional Brain: The Mysterious Underpinnings of Emotional Life, which investigates the origins of human emotions such as fear, love, hate, anger, and joy, and explains that many exist as part of complex neural systems that evolved to enable us to survive. He is also the singer and song writer in The Amygdaloids, a rock band that sings about mind and brain, and with which  Rosanne Cash has recorded.


Joseph LeDoux Joseph LeDoux

Comments [9]


We all have experiences where we "build" / "record" a memory prior to traumatic events, shared by many (i.e, where were you when you heared about 911, MLK, RFK, JFK being killed) What if, just what if our "memories" are recorded some external place (not in our brain) as if on a virtual server somewhere. Think Cosmic Consiousness.

Aug. 08 2012 12:39 PM

Anesthesiologists routinely use a drug to erase a patient's memory of surgery.

Aug. 08 2012 12:32 PM

I've had a few strange episodes in my life of a sort of extreme deja vu --- it's as if my dreams rush back at me, and if I allow the feeling to progress, I find myself unable to tell what is real and what is being created in my mind. It's quite terrifying.
I can now come down from these episodes by reclining and breathing deeply. I am not usually in a (previously) stressful situation when this happens, though sometimes I have generalized life stress or lack of sleep.
Any input or advice?

Aug. 08 2012 12:26 PM
Emmy from Mamaroneck, NY

Agree with Wayne Johnson, that these studies LeDoux conducts, once again, are so poorly designed because they are performed on another species, under laboratory conditions. I believe science will really be able to tell us about how our species works when scientists design better experiments -- and studies -- on our species.

Aug. 08 2012 12:25 PM
The Truth from Becky

uh huh got your credentials, got it about the band..can we please talk about the emotional connection to the brain huh please? Thanks! *guess what emotion I'm feeling right now*

Aug. 08 2012 12:15 PM
Diana from Manhattan


What is going on in my brain when I am heart-broken or feeling a deep sorrow? This is not just being sad, I mean when you feel this deep, deep hole near your stomach and feel you can´t go on. What neurotransmitters, etc are playing havoc with my brain?


Aug. 08 2012 12:14 PM
DickeyFuller from DC

My husband took a class with Steven Pinker several years ago. Chris told me something very interesting that Pinker told them: "Emotions are thoughts."


Aug. 08 2012 12:12 PM
Wayne Johnson Ph.D. from Bk

Unfortunately much of Professor LeDoux's research is destroying the brains of sentient beings (rats) who did not volunteer for his protocols and want to live as much as he does.

Aug. 08 2012 12:12 PM
Ed from Larchmont

It seems to me that we can say that these brain changes accompany an emotion. We can't say that these brain changes cause an emotion.

Aug. 08 2012 07:58 AM

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