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October 07 , 2008

Joy, Guilt, Anger, Love

What Neuroscience Can--and Can't--Tell Us About How We Feel


“Neuroscientist Giovanni Frazzetto enters the restless realm of human emotion through the portals of physiology, genetics, history, art and philosophy. Anger, guilt, anxiety, grief, empathy, joy and love are anatomized in turn, enlivened with research on everything from the role of monoamine oxidase A in anger to the engagement of opioid receptors as we thrill to music. And who knew that surrealist Salvador Dali created an art installation in the shape of a giant caterpillar to explore the process of sedation?”
Is science ever enough to explain why we feel the way we feel?
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In this engaging account, renowned neuroscientist Giovanni Frazzetto blends cutting-edge scientific research with personal stories to reveal how our brains generate our emotions. He demonstrates that while modern science has expanded our knowledge, investigating art, literature, and philosophy is equally crucial to unraveling the brain’s secrets. What can a brain scan, or our reaction to a Caravaggio painting, reveal about the deep seat of guilt? Can ancient remedies fight sadness more effectively than antidepressants? What can writing poetry tell us about how joy works? Structured in seven chapters encompassing common human emotions—anger, guilt, anxiety, grief, empathy, joy, and love—Joy, Guilt, Anger, Love offers a way of thinking about science and art that will help us to more fully understand ourselves and how we feel.
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