Social reality

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A note for Lesson no. 7, "Our Brains Can Create Reality," in Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett.
Some context from page 111 is:

We all live in a world of social reality that exists only inside our human brains.

If you’re interested in the concept of social reality, a definitive source is the writings of the philosopher John R. Searle;[1][2] see also Berger & Luckmann.[3]

For more on social construction, see Ian Hacking's book.[4]

To learn about psychological phenomena, like emotions, as social reality, try these references.[5][6]


  1. Searle, John R. 1995. The Construction of Social Reality. New York: Simon and Schuster.
  2. Searle, John R. 2010. Making the Social World: The Structure of Human Civilization. New York: Oxford University Press.
  3. Berger, Peter L., and Thomas Luckmann. 1967. The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge. New York: Anchor Books.
  4. Hacking, Ian. 1999. The Social Construction of What? Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  5. Barrett, Lisa Feldman. 2012. “Emotions are Real." Emotion 12 (3): 413–429.
  6. Barrett, Lisa Feldman. 2017. How Emotions are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain, chapter 7. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.