Skip to main content

Secondary navigation:

Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences

Lisa Feldman Barrett

research professor


Ph.D. University of Waterloo, 1992

Scholarly Interests: Emotion. The structure of emotion. The influence of language and conceptual knowledge in emotion perception and emotion experience. Individual variation in affective processing. Sex differences in emotion.

Academic Profile: Professor Barrett joined the faculty in the fall of 1996. Prior to coming to Boston College, she was an Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology at The Pennsylvania State University. She currently holds an adjunct appointment at the Harvard Medical School, where she collaborates on neuroimaging studies of emotional processing. Dr. Barrett’s research addresses several key issues in the science of emotion: What are the basic building blocks of emotional life, and what are constructs that will support a cumulative, inductive science of emotion? Why is it that people can quickly and effortlessly perceive anger, sadness, fear, and so on, in themselves and in others, yet scientists have been unable to specify a set of clear criteria for empirically identifying these emotional events? What roles do language and conceptual knowledge play in emotion perception? Are there really differences between the emotional lives of men and women? Taken together, these questions outline a research agenda for the psychological construction of emotion. Dr. Barrett uses a range of methods to address these scientific questions, including computerized experience-sampling, psychophysiology, social cognitive tasks, and neuroimaging. She currently holds an Independent Scientist Research Award (K02 MH001981) from the National Institute of Mental Health, and her research has primarily been funded by the National Science Foundation.