Emotions 101 — Your Curated PodCourse

A curated selection of podcasts to help you learn about and understand emotions.

Samuel Salzer
Behavioral Design Hub
5 min readMay 30, 2021


Imagine learning about valuable behavior change concepts in a fun and easy way from a mix of experts with exciting perspectives. Sounds too good to be true? Enter: Habit Weekly PodCourses.

We curate our favorite behavioral science podcasts into insightful playlists. The second part of our PodCourses focuses on the fascinating topic of emotions.

What are emotions? How do they influence us, and can we influence them? Can we teach AI emotions? Learn the answers to these questions and so much more!

You can listen to the Full PodCourse on Spotify here, or you can browse the selection of podcast episodes below.

Time to get emotional — Happy listening! 🎧.

Samuel Salzer & Lizzie Kost

Missed the first part in our PodCourse series? Check it out below.

Part 1: The Science of Emotion


Your baby smiles up at you, and you fill with love. We think this is how emotions work: something happens, and we instinctively respond. How could it be any other way? Well, the latest research in psychology and neuroscience shows that’s not correct. Invisibilia offers you a truly mind-blowing alternative explanation for how emotions are made.

Balancing the Brain Budget

Neuroscientist, psychologist and author, Lisa Feldman Barrett discusses the complexities of the brain, our emotions, improving ourselves and our relationship with others, making good decisions, and giving yourself an existential break.

How Emotions Are Made

Further deep-dive with Lisa Feldman Barrett. She dissects the evidence against the classical view that emotions are universal and hardwired. She also introduces her new theory of Constructed Emotions. This new theory has significant implications for how we understand ourselves and others. Learn why.

Part 2: Changing Our Own Emotions

Simple Ways to Live a Happier Life

Our genes predetermine about 40 percent of our happiness. As little as 10 percent determines our circumstances. This adds up to many opportunities that could shape our mental health, says Yale psychology professor Laurie Santos, Ph.D., the woman behind the viral “Science of Well-Being” class. Get a crash course on why our tech habits are chipping away at our contentment, how a “boring” routine and meditation can improve our default mindset, and what we can do each night to set ourselves up for a lifetime of joy.

You Can Change

You can make yourself happier today. Your life circumstances and personality aren’t nearly as important as you think in determining your happiness. Dr. Laurie Santos explains how understanding the latest science will point you in the right direction and make you more satisfied with your life. Are you ready to feel better?

How Can You Stop Feeling So Irritable?

Angela Duckworth and Steven Dubner explore why we feel irritable and how we can change our negative emotional experiences.

Part 3: Behavioral Design of Emotions

Facts Aren’t Enough

Sometimes our beliefs resist data that could change our minds. Hidden Brains looks at how we rely on the people we trust to shape what we think and why emotions can be more powerful than facts.

No Hard Feelings

Liz Fosslien helps us explore “un-repressing” your emotions at work, finding constructive channels for jealousy and anxiety, demystifying coworker communication styles, and ultimately allowing readers to be the same person at work and in life.

Incentives and Loss Aversion

This conversation with Alex Imas explores the effectiveness of loss contracts (clawback incentives.) Learn about the real-world experiments with clawbacks: do they work, and in what circumstances are they most successful?

Can artificial intelligence be emotionally intelligent?

Rosalind Picard explores the importance of emotional cognition to human decision-making. She explains how companies use emotion-tracking technology to help disadvantaged populations (but could also be used to bring about dystopian results), why she believes the goal of AI technology should be to “empower the weak” and “reduce inequality,” and much more.

Part 4: Going Deeper on Emotions

All the Rage

There’s a lot of anger out in the world right now, but does it do more harm than good? Is anger counterproductive, an obstacle to progress? And even when it is, can anger be appropriate anyway? Very Bad Wizards explores research criticizing anger’s critics.

Bonus: More from Very Bad Wizards on emotion.

How Delusions Can Actually Be Useful

Most people are in the camp of believing rational, scientific findings and that lies and deception are harmful to our communities. However, Shankar Vedantam walks us through a compelling argument that paradoxically, self-deception plays a pivotal role in our happiness and well-being.

Happiness, Animals & Breathing

Laurie Santos, Ph.D., chats with the armchair expert to discuss five ways to increase happiness during & post quarantine, the neuroscience behind deep breaths, and why studying animals is better than studying humans.

Lessons About the Brain

Another profound conversation with world-renowned neuroscientist and psychologist Lisa Feldman Barrett. This episode covers several interesting topics, including why your brain is not for thinking, how prediction becomes reality, why most people are wrong in thinking about emotions, and the best type of chocolate (spoiler: dark.) Enjoy!

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Samuel Salzer
Behavioral Design Hub

Behavioral designer, author and keynote speaker. Helping organizations create habit forming products. Curator for the popular newsletter www.HabitWeekly.com