What are the relationships between language, culture, emotions and behavior? Watch this talk to find out!

Who is she?:

Tiffany Watt Smith is the author of The Book of Human Emotions, which tells the stories of 154 feelings from around the world. It has been published in 9 countries so far. She is currently a Wellcome Trust research fellow at the Centre for the History of the Emotions at Queen Mary University of London, and she was educated at the Universities of Cambridge and London. Her writing has appeared in The Guardian, the BBC News Magazine and The New Scientist. In 2014, she was named a BBC New Generation Thinker. In her previous career, she was a theatre director.

Why You Should Watch:

Her glimpse of the history of human emotions is  wonderful.  Her approach to the philosophy of mind and human emotions seems to be very interesting as well. She definitely has some ideas worth sharing.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Where you able to identify your emotions?
  2. Some psychologists hold that there are 6 primary emotions, she says the number is much higher. Which do you believe is accurate? Defend your answer.
  3. What is emotional intelligence?
  4. Can you identify your own fleeting emotions.
  5. Emotions are shaped by our bodies, our cultures, and our languages. Can you give an example?
  6. What might our language, describing emotions, tell us about our society’s social, cultural or political values?

Making Connections:

Do you wonder how media affects emotional intelligence? Here are two conflicting views:




The History of Human Emotions – with Tiffany Watt Smith


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