Lisa Feldman Barrett, PhD, is University Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Director of the Interdisciplinary Affective Science Laboratory (IASLab) at Northeastern University. She also holds research appointments in the Psychiatric Neuroimaging Program in the Department of Psychiatry and at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging in the Department of Radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)/Harvard Medical School. Her research focuses on the nature of emotion from both psychological and neuroscience perspectives, and takes inspiration from anthropology, philosophy, and linguistics. Her lab studies how the human brain, in continual conversation with the human body and the world, construct emotional events. Dr. Barrett is known as an innovator in science. In 2007, she received an NIH Director’s Pioneer Award for transformative research on the neurobiological basis of emotion that offers a transdisorder approach to understanding mental and physical illness.  She is a prolific scientist, publishing over 240 peer reviewed scientific papers  and editing five scientific volumes, including the 3rd and 4th editions of The Handbook of Emotion. Her lab has received continuous federal funding by NIH and NSF for over 20 years. She has received numerous awards for her research, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, and she has been honored with election to numerous scientific societies, including the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Royal Society of Canada. Dr. Barrett has been called “the most important affective scientist of our time” and “the deepest thinker on since Darwin.”

Dr. Barrett is a committed science educator. She has been honored with numerous awards for service, including a Lifetime Mentor Award from the Association for Psychological Science and the Award for Distinguished Service to Psychological Science from the American Psychological Association.  Dr.Barrett educates the public about emotion and neuroscience, writing regularly media outlets such as The New York Times (for a full list, see  Her TED talk, published in January 2018, has been viewed over 5M times and was chosen as one of the most popular talks in 2018. Her research is regularly discussed in major media outlets, including on NPR, NBC, and Invisibilia, and in The Wall Street Journal, WIRED magazine and Time.  Dr. Barrett also works with museums, such as the Boston Museum of Science, to help them utilize the most current scientific insights on emotion and neuroscience, and she educates lawyers, judges and other legal actors about emotion, neuroscience and the law as Chief Science Officer of the Center for Law, Brain and Behavior at MGH. In 2007, Dr. Barrett testified before US Congress in support of basic behavioral research. Her first popular science book, How emotions are made:  The secret life of the brain, was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2017, and was described as “brilliant and original”, “mind blowing”, and “a delight to read.”  It was chosen as a Best Book of 2017 by Kirkus Reviews and was a semi-finalist for the 2018 PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award. Dr. Barrett’s next book, Seven and a half lessons about the brain, will be published in November, 2020.


PhD in Clinical Psychology, University of Waterloo

Select Publications

1. Barrett LF, Simmons WK. Interoceptive predictions in the brain. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2015;16(7):419-29.

2. Barrett LF. The theory of constructed emotion: an active inference account of interoception and categorization. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2017;12(11):1833.

3. Kleckner IR, Zhang J, Touroutoglou A, Chanes L, Xia C, Simmons WK, et al. Evidence for a Large-Scale Brain System Supporting Allostasis and Interoception in Humans. Nat Hum Behav. 2017;1.

4. Barrett LF, Adolphs R, Marsella S, Martinez AM, Pollak SD. Emotional Expressions Reconsidered: Challenges to Inferring Emotion From Human Facial Movements. Psychol Sci Public Interest. 2019 Jul;20(1):1-68. doi: 10.1177/1529100619832930. Erratum in: Psychol Sci Public Interest. 2019 Dec;20(3):165-166. PMID: 31313636; PMCID: PMC6640856.

5. Siegel EH, Sands MK, Van den Noortgate W, Condon P, Chang Y, Dy J, Quigley KS, Barrett LF. Emotion fingerprints or emotion populations? A meta-analytic investigation of autonomic features of emotion categories. Psychol Bull. 2018 Apr;144(4):343-393. doi: 10.1037/bul0000128. Epub 2018 Feb 1. PMID: 29389177; PMCID: PMC5876074.


2019: John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (Neuroscience)

2018: Mentor Award for Lifetime Achievement, Association for Psychological Science (APS)

2018: Elected Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences

2012: Elected Fellow, Royal Society of Canada


The Interdisciplinary Affective Science Laboratory (Northeastern University)