Rationality and emotion do not live in separate parts of the brain

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A note for Lesson no. 1, "You Have One Brain (Not Three)," in Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett.
Some context from page 16 is:

And rationality and emotion are not at war... they do not even live in separate parts of the brain.

This topic is a focus of my previous book, How Emotions are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain. A given instance of emotion, whether it's happiness, fear, or schadenfreude, is constructed by the whole brain via prediction, not by any so-called dedicated brain circuit.[1] The same is true for thoughts, perceptions of the five senses, and any other mental function.[2] No parts of the brain are dedicated to emotions, thoughts, or other cognitions.


  1. Barrett, Lisa Feldman. 2017. How Emotions are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain, chapter 1. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  2. Barrett, Lisa Feldman. 2017. "The Theory of Constructed Emotion: An Active Inference Account of Interoception and Categorization." Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 12 (1): 1-23.