Joseph E. LeDoux - Science & Environment
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Joseph E. LeDoux

What happens in our brain when we feel terror?

Neuroscientist at the forefront of research on the brain and emotions
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The Neuroscience of Fear

We live in an era of anxiety. We can see this in various works of literature, movies, and music. Joseph LeDoux's ‘Using the Brain to Understand Fear and Anxiety’ is a lecture series for those living with the anxiousness that comes with being a person in the modern world. LeDoux defines fear and anxiety and explains what happens in our brain when we feel a threat.

In lecture one, ‘The Scientist Who Studies Emotion,’ LeDoux explains the ‘flow of information’ he studied with his mentor Michael Gazzaniga. In the second lecture, ‘The Pathway to Fear,’ he tells us how we feel fear and how we react to threats at the neurological level. As the concepts of fear and anxiety developed into cultural memes, many misunderstandings about the reality of these emotions spread. In lecture three, ‘The Truth of the Amygdala,’ Joseph LeDoux corrects misconceptions about the fear-anxiety mechanism. In lecture four, he gives us the proper definitions of fear and anxiety and talks about anxiety disorders and the related therapies. In the final lecture, ‘The Theory of the Evolution of Emotions,’ we learn about the origins of fear and anxiety, looking at not only humans but all creatures who share these emotions.

Joseph LeDoux's Neuroscience of Fear will give you a better understanding of the fascinating concepts of fear and anxiety from various perspectives, including neuroscience, psychology, philosophy, and evolutionary biology.

Full Bio

Joseph E. LeDoux

Professor at New York University and the director of the Emotional Brain Institute
William James Award for his book ‘Anxious’
Karl Spencer Lashley Award from the American Philosophical Society (2011)
Named University Professor, the highest honor for a faculty member at NYU (2005)
Fyssen Foundation’s International Prize for his work on the neural basis of emotions (2005)

Joseph LeDoux is an American neuroscientist who was the first to discover that it is the amygdala that produces a behavioral response when we feel a threat.

Under the guidance of Michael Gazzaniga, who pioneered the second-generation cognitive science called cognitive neuroscience, Joseph LeDoux received a PhD while studying split-brain patients at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. From 1989, he served at the Center for Neural Science at NYU as an associate professor. He was named a university professor, the highest honor for a faculty member at NYU, in 2005 and is now the director at the Emotional Brain Institute.

Joseph LeDoux received the William James Book Award in 2014 for ‘Anxious,’ in which he sought to correct the misunderstood mechanisms of fear and anxiety.

As a fun aside, he is a songwriter and lead singer of a folk-rock band, The Amygdaloids, formed in 2004 with his colleague and other academics from NYU. The lyrics carry with them some scholarly insights into the mind and brain.

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