'Of Bromances And Biting Cute Babies': Malaysian book about science of emotions

  • Books
  • Friday, 08 Jun 2018

Did you know that people can experience an emotion known as “cute aggression”? Or that venting our frustrations leads us to feeling more anger rather than less?

Emotions are present in almost everything we do and yet, relatively little is understood about why we feel something rather than nothing and how, exactly, we humans became so diverse in our emotional range.

Although neuroscience and research into emotions have developed significantly in recent decades, we’re still very much at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding the workings of the brain and the nature of consciousness. Indeed, most of us tend to use emotions, feelings and moods interchangeably, as though each term refers to the same thing. As we find out in Of Bromances And Biting Cute Babies, these aren’t necessarily the same, and understanding each concept can lead to better self-awareness.

At a time when people are growing increasingly interested in how their minds function, this book is a timely offering by Eugene Tee, an emotions researcher, and Tsee Leng Choy, who specialises in clinical neuroscience.

Both authors are also senior lecturers at HELP University’s department of psychology and came up with the idea of compiling the book after being asked a wide range of questions by their students. (See interview here.)

Emotions examinedThe book addresses 89 questions in total in the form of short essays, which makes for easy, informative and frequently entertaining reading. Having dipped my toe into the research of emotions, I initially expected the book to present information I was already familiar with. On the contrary, Of Bromances And Biting Cute Babies provides plenty of surprising facts, insights and observations that lend the book its allure.

Set out in three parts, the book’s first section addresses fundamental questions such as, “What are emotions?”, “Are emotions the same as feelings and moods”, and, “Is it possible to feel nothing?”

Part two of the book explores discrete (individual) emotions and tackles age-old questions such as why we feel fear and sadness, alongside modern queries such as whether violence and video games are correlated, and why we are drawn to horror movies and haunted houses.

As the title suggests, we also find out why “bromances” exist, and why some people are inclined to bite cute babies or puppies. The book also explores current issues relating to emotions in nonhumans: If robots could feel, would that make them human? What about plants and dogs – do they experience emotion? The book is filled with exploratory answers that are as riveting as many of the questions.

The third part takes a practical look at living with emotions. This section explores questions to which we might feel the answers are obvious; however, we get to find out just how nuanced and complex our emotions can be.

Questions in this segment include, “Are women more emotional than men?”, “What happens when people suppress their emotions?”, and “How does social media and technology influence our emotions?”

A great deal of this book’s appeal is that it strikes a wonderful balance between being richly evidence-based and yet accessible to the non-academics among us. For their debut book, Tee and Choy have done a wonderful job in producing a work that leaves their audience hungry for more on their favourite topics. In that sense, Of Bromances And Biting Cute Babies inspires deeper learning as much as it provides the reader with an engaging investigation into our emotions.

Perhaps the most significant benefit of reading the book is that it naturally encourages self-reflection once we’re armed with the valuable knowledge offered by the authors. For those new to the idea of introspection, Of Bromances And Biting Cute Babies will certainly open them up to an interesting and wonderful journey of self-discovery and realisation.

Of Bromances And Biting Cute Babies: Questions About Emotions You (Probably) Never Thought Of Asking

Authors: Eugene Tee & Tsee Leng Choy

Publisher: The Inspiration Hub, nonfiction

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