The Science of Emotions: A Conversation with Barbara Fredrickson

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Open Agenda Publishing, Oct 1, 2020 - Psychology - 48 pages
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Why do we smile, laugh and actively seek out personal connections with the people around us? Why does it feel good and what evolutionary purposes do our so-called “positive emotions” serve? This book is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and Barbara Fredrickson, Director Positive Emotions & Psychology Laboratory at UNC Chapel Hill. Topics covered by this extensive conversation include Barbara’s work on the science of positive emotions, including her broaden-and-build theory, the undoing effect and upward spirals, while highlighting relevant evolutionary-driven hypotheses together with measurement details of empirical studies. 

This carefully-edited book includes an introduction, Only Connect, and questions for discussion at the end of each chapter:

I. Psychological Beginnings - Towards social psychology

II. Emotions, Scientifically - From endings to moments of intensity

III. Positive vs. Negative Emotions - Evolutionary conundrums

IV. Positive Psychology Emerges - Examining human flourishing

V. Broaden and Build - A thesis emerges

VI. Emotional Measurement - Searching for objective criteria

VII. The Undoing Effect - A side benefit of positive emotions

VIII. Taking Charge - Cultivating positive emotional states

IX. Responses - The perks and perils of relevance

X. Personal Flourishing - Bringing it home

XI. Leveraging Positively - Generating upwards spirals

About Ideas Roadshow Conversations Series: 

This book is part of an expanding series of 100+ Ideas Roadshow conversations, each one presenting a wealth of candid insights from a leading expert in a relaxed and informal setting to give non-specialists a uniquely accessible window into frontline research and scholarship that wouldn't otherwise be encountered through standard lectures and textbooks.


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A Note on the Text
The Conversation
Psychological Beginnings
Emotions Scientifically
Positive vs Negative Emotions
Positive Psychology Emerges
Broaden and Build
Emotional Measurement
The Undoing Effect
Taking Charge
Personal Flourishing
Leveraging Positivity

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About the author (2020)

Howard Burton, the founder and creator of Ideas Roadshow and Ideas on Film, holds a PhD in theoretical physics and an MA in philosophy. He was the Founding Executive Director of Canada’s Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (PI) from 1999-2007. During his time at PI, he also developed an extensive outreach programme for teachers, students and the general public. His experiences at developing the research and outreach mandates of the institute were described in the book, First Principles: Building Perimeter Institute, featuring a foreword by Nobel Laureate Roger Penrose.

Ideas Roadshow is an award-winning initiative, recipient of the London Book Fair International Excellence Award in 2018. Howard has hosted and filmed in-depth conversations with more than 100 of the world’s brightest thinkers, including 3 Nobel Laureates, across the arts, sciences, sports and games.

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