playlist

What are emotions?

Explore the emotional landscape of life and identify those hard to define feelings with these fascinating talks.

  1. 14:20
    Tiffany Watt Smith The history of human emotions

    The words we use to describe our emotions affect how we feel, says historian Tiffany Watt Smith, and they've often changed (sometimes very dramatically) in response to new cultural expectations and ideas. Take nostalgia, for instance: first defined in 1688 as an illness and considered deadly, today it's seen as a much less serious affliction. In this fascinating talk about the history of emotions, learn more about how the language we use to describe how we feel continues to evolve — and pick up some new words used in different cultures to capture those fleeting feelings in words.

  2. 18:15
    Lisa Feldman Barrett You aren't at the mercy of your emotions — your brain creates them

    Can you look at someone's face and know what they're feeling? Does everyone experience happiness, sadness and anxiety the same way? What are emotions anyway? For the past 25 years, psychology professor Lisa Feldman Barrett has mapped facial expressions, scanned brains and analyzed hundreds of physiology studies to understand what emotions really are. She shares the results of her exhaustive research — and explains how we may have more control over our emotions than we think.

  3. 7:28
    John Koenig Beautiful new words to describe obscure emotions

    John Koenig loves finding words that express our unarticulated feelings — like "lachesism," the hunger for disaster, and "sonder," the realization that everyone else's lives are as complex and unknowable as our own. Here, he meditates on the meaning we assign to words and how these meanings latch onto us.

  4. 19:05
    Scott Galloway How Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google manipulate our emotions

    The combined market capitalization of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google is now equivalent to the GDP of India. How did these four companies come to infiltrate our lives so completely? In a spectacular rant, Scott Galloway shares insights and eye-opening stats about their dominance and motivation — and what happens when a society prizes shareholder value over everything else. Followed by a Q&A with TED Curator Chris Anderson. (Note: This talk contains graphic language.)

  5. 20:13
    Michael Tilson Thomas Music and emotion through time

    In this epic overview, Michael Tilson Thomas traces the development of classical music through the development of written notation, the record, and the re-mix.