Faculty Experts

Lisa Feldman Barrett

Lisa Feldman Barrett

University Distinguished Professor of Psychology



Related Articles

Psychology expert offers advice for less stress, more joy during the holidays

The hol­i­days are billed as a time of joy, but they can also be a time of increased stress for many people. We asked psy­chology pro­fessor Lisa Feldman Bar­rett about that stress and what we can do to min­i­mize the feel­ings that result.


3Qs: Advice for handling strong emotions post-​​election

Psy­chology pro­fessor Lisa Feldman Bar­rett pro­vides per­spec­tive on the inten­sity of our emo­tions this elec­tion season, how the cam­paign might affect us psy­cho­log­i­cally over the long term, and how we can regain our equi­lib­rium as indi­vid­uals and as a nation.


Chew on this: How we believe our meat is raised can influence how it tastes

New research from North­eastern psy­chology pro­fessor Lisa Feldman Bar­rett shows that our beliefs about how farm ani­mals are raised—whether on “fac­tory farms” or in more humane conditions—can shape our meat-​​eating expe­ri­ence, from how we think it smells and tastes to how much we’d be willing to pay for it. “We show that what you feel very directly influ­ences not only how you inter­pret what you see but also very lit­er­ally what you see,” Bar­rett said.

Grilled Black Angus Steak Ribeye on Himalayan pink salt block on dark wooden background

Comfort dogs bring healing in times of tragedy

Twelve golden retrievers recently arrived in Orlando to bring com­fort to the sur­vivors and those grieving after the mass shooting at the gay night­club Pulse. Here, Northeastern’s Lisa Feldman Bar­rett, who spe­cial­izes in the psy­chology of emo­tion, explains how dogs help bring our ner­vous sys­tems back into bal­ance and, at least tem­porarily, make us feel safe.


Failure to reproduce results is ‘a normal part of how science works’

Lisa Feldman Bar­rett, Uni­ver­sity Dis­tin­guished Pro­fessor of Psy­chology, says that there is “not a cause for alarm” after a new paper revealed that many psy­chology studies’ results could not be replicated.

January 26, 2012 - Lisa Feldman Barrett, Distinguished Professor of Psychology and director of the Interdisciplinary Affective Science Laboratory.  Dr. BarrettÕs research focuses on the nature of emotion from both psychological and neuroscience perspectives, and takes inspiration from anthropology, philosophy, and linguistics. Her lab takes an interdisciplinary perspective approach, and incorporates methods from social, clinical, and personality psychology, psychophysiology, cognitive science, cognitive neuroscience, and visual cognition.

3Qs: How we feel what we feel

Lisa Feldman Bar­rett, Uni­ver­sity Dis­tin­guished Pro­fessor of Psy­chology at North­eastern, explains why mis­con­cep­tions about emo­tion per­sist, how our emo­tional brains change as we age, and the role of con­text in what we feel.


Researchers pinpoint epicenter of brain’s predictive ability

In recent years, sci­en­tists have dis­cov­ered that the human brain works on pre­dic­tions, con­trary to the pre­vi­ously accepted theory that it reacts to out­side sen­sa­tions. Now, in a paper pub­lished in Nature, Dis­tin­guished Uni­ver­sity Pro­fessor Lisa Feldman Bar­rett has reported finding the epi­center of those predictions.

Lisa Feldman Barrett

Your face says it all? Not so fast

New research from Uni­ver­sity Dis­tin­guished Pro­fessor of Psy­chology Lisa Feldman Barrett’s lab refutes a decades-​​old belief in emo­tion science—that emo­tions are uni­ver­sally rec­og­nized across people and cultures.

Maria Gendron and Lisa Feldman Barrett

3Qs: A crazy little drug called love

Research from Uni­ver­sity Dis­tin­guished Pro­fessor Lisa Feldman Barrett’s lab con­firms what singers and film­makers have known all along: Love is a drug. It affects our behaviors—and our brains—in the same ways as addiction.


Your iPhone gets emotional

Vir­tual humans, rela­tional robots, brain imaging devices, and mobile eye-​​tracking tech­nolo­gies were among the inno­v­a­tive research projects high­lighted at a day­long con­fer­ence at North­eastern that explored the inter­sec­tion of emo­tion sci­ence and technology.

New Vistas in Emotion and Technology

Dead or alive? Researchers use uncertainty to scare

Lisa Feldman Bar­rett, Uni­ver­sity Dis­tin­guished Pro­fessor of Psy­chology, and her team at the Inter­dis­ci­pli­nary Affec­tive Sci­ence Lab­o­ra­tory use the sci­ence of emo­tion to scare people at a haunted house — and raise money for charity.


Get the picture? New high-​​res images show brain activity like never before

Researchers in Northeastern’s Inter­dis­ci­pli­nary Affec­tive Sci­ence Lab­o­ra­tory have cre­ated the highest-​​resolution image of the human brain stem in action. It could ulti­mately help sci­en­tists explore the grounds of human emo­tion like never before.


The fruits of undergraduate research

Psy­chology pro­fessor Lisa Feldman Barrett’s Inter­dis­ci­pli­nary Affec­tive Sci­ence Lab­o­ra­tory employs about 100 under­grad­uate researchers each year, pro­viding not just hands-​​on training, but also invalu­able mentorship.


Professor recognized for changing the field of affective neuroscience

Lisa Feldman Bar­rett, Dis­tin­guished Pro­fessor of Psy­chology, was recently elected to the Royal Society of Canada, the highest honor for Cana­dian scholars in the arts, sci­ences and humanities.

Lisa Feldman Barrett

Happinomics’: the science of money and emotion

Northeastern’s Affec­tive Sci­ence Insti­tute hosted a panel dis­cus­sion among leading “hap­pi­ness sci­en­tists” in con­junc­tion with the Museum of Sci­ence and WBUR’s Here & Now.

Photo by Dreamstime.

Experiential learning is a way of life’

On Friday morning, Gen. Colin Powell joined Pres­i­dent Joseph E. Aoun in cel­e­brating Northeastern’s Class of 2012 at the university’s 110th commencement.


Redefining emotion

In new research, Dis­tin­guished Pro­fessor of Psy­chology Lisa Feldman Bar­rett has ana­lyzed thou­sands of data points from neu­roimaging exper­i­ments to rede­fine the sci­en­tific con­cept of emotion.

Lisa Feldman Barrett

Pop-​​up’ lab opens interdisciplinary dialogue

Northeastern’s second Open Lab Expe­ri­ence, held Monday, high­lighted work by archi­tec­ture stu­dents and faculty.

A call for an evolved understanding of emotion

In a new schol­arly review, psy­chology pro­fessor Lisa Feldman Bar­rett points out that the beliefs about emo­tion guiding many secu­rity prac­tices today may be flawed.

Photo by Mary Knox Merrill.

A meeting of the minds

Scholars and researchers from more than a dozen uni­ver­si­ties and med­ical insti­tu­tions took part in the first meeting of Northeastern’s Affec­tive Sci­ence Institute.

Photo by Mary Knox Merrill.

How the brain works with feelings

In the inau­gural Col­lege of Sci­ence Col­lo­quium Series lec­ture, psy­chology pro­fessor Lisa Feldman Bar­rett explores how emo­tions func­tion in the mind.

Photo by Mary Knox Merrill.

Providing context for perceiving emotion

Chal­lenging long-​​held sci­en­tific beliefs, psy­chology pro­fessor Lisa Feldman Bar­rett says that dis­cerning a person’s emo­tional state goes beyond reading facial expression.

Courtesy photo.

Gossip triggers defensive response

In col­lab­o­ra­tive study, North­eastern neu­ro­sci­en­tist sug­gests that pos­sessing neg­a­tive infor­ma­tion about a person affects how we see them — literally

Courtesy Image

Brain biology may dictate social networks

Study led by North­eastern researcher finds that the size of a cer­tain part of the brain cor­re­lates with a richer, more com­plex social life

Studying our emotional life

Psy­chology pro­fessor ana­lyzes effect of feel­ings on out­lookusing expe­ri­en­tial, behav­ioral, psy­chophys­i­o­log­ical, and brain-​​imaging methods

Selected Publications

For a complete list of faculty citations, please visit iRis, Northeastern’s digital archive.


Emotion words shape emotion percepts

(with M. Gendron, K. Lindquist, and L. Barsalou) Emotion, 12, 314-325.


Micro-valences: Affective valence in “neutral” everyday objects

(with S. Lebrecht, M. Bar, and M. J. Tarr)Frontiers in Perception Science. 3:107. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00107.


Dissociable large-scale networks anchored in the right anterior insula subserve affective experience and attention

(with A. Touroutoglou, M. Hollenbeck, and B. C. Dickerson) Neuroimage, 60, 1947-1958.

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