Barbara Fredrickson

The Science of Emotions is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and Barbara Fredrickson, Director Positive Emotions & Psychology Laboratory at UNC Chapel Hill. Why do we smile, laugh and actively seek out personal connections with the people around us? Why does it feel good and what evolutionary purposes do our so-called “positive emotions” serve? Topics covered by this extensive conversation include Barbara’s groundbreaking work on the science of positive emotions, including her broaden-and-build theory, the undoing effect and upward spirals, while highlighting relevant evolutionary-driven hypotheses together with measurement details of empirical studies. 

This carefully-edited book includes an introduction, Only Connect, and questions for discussion at the end of each chapter:

  1. Psychological Beginnings – Towards social psychology
  2. Emotions, Scientifically – From endings to moments of intensity
  3. Positive vs. Negative Emotions – Evolutionary conundrums
  4. Positive Psychology Emerges – Examining human flourishing
  5. Broaden and Build – A thesis emerges
  6. Emotional Measurement – Searching for objective criteria
  7. The Undoing Effect – A side benefit of positive emotions
  8. Taking Charge – Cultivating positive emotional states
  9. Responses – The perks and perils of relevance
  10. Personal Flourishing – Bringing it home
  11. Leveraging Positively – Generating upwards spirals



Available in electronic format on all major booksellers, including



The Science of Emotions is also part of the five-part Ideas Roadshow Collection, Conversations About Social Psychology, which is available in both paperback and electronic format.


We’ve produced a one-hour video of our conversation with Barbara Fredrickson which is available on Vimeo On Demand: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/scienceofemotions