Joy, Guilt, Anger, Love: What Neuroscience Can—and Can’t—Tell Us About How We Feel

Giovanni Frazzetto. Penguin, $16 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-0-14-312309-5
Neuroscientist Frazzetto (How We Feel) takes a remarkable look at the power of human emotion and the overuse of science in justifying human nature. It is, as he states, “an irresistible notion,” but Frazzetto’s treatise on the role our brains play in everyday emotions is a refreshing take on the idea. Interweaving psychological and scientific experiments with endearing personal anecdotes and historical retellings, Frazzetto shows that we are, indeed, more than the sum of our brain scans. While his knowledge of case studies is impressive, it’s his own dealings with strong emotions like grief and love that make the book appealing. The eponymous emotions impact our quotidian experiences, and Frazzetto explores them beyond the laboratory, sharing the stories and experiences of such figures as Darwin, Freud, Brecht, and Caravaggio, as well as how their own intimate relationships with these emotions can now be analyzed through neuroscience. Frazzetto has produced an homage to the history and of mankind’s devotion to flights of the heart and sparks of the brain. Agent: Carrie Kania, Conville & Walsh Literary Agency (U.K.) (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/02/2013
Release date: 02/25/2014
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