MIND Reviews: The Emotional Life of Your Brain : Scientific American

The Emotional Life of Your Brain: How Its Unique Patterns Affect the Way You Think, Feel, and Live–And How You Can Change Them
by Richard J. Davidson and Sharon Begley.


Not so long ago scientists downplayed emotions as cognitive flotsam, the product of primitive brain structures that derail logic and reasoning in more evolutionarily sophisticated regions of the cortex. Dramatic advances in brain imaging, however, are challenging that perspective. As psychologist Davidson argues in his new book, The Emotional Life of Your Brain, emotions are crucial to how the mind works.


According to Davidson, just as exercise can turn a flabby stomach into a six-pack, mental training such as meditation can fine-tune the brain and, consequently, your emotional style>, which he defines as the consistent way of responding to the experiences of our lives. With science journalist Begley, Davidson maps the six dimensions of emotional style–resilience, outlook, social intuition, self-awareness, sensitivity to context, and attention. The authors also provide user-friendly questionnaires for readers to assess where they fall on those scales…