Batja Mesquita On How Different Cultures Experience Emotions

Caitlin Zaloom at Public Books:

Caitlin Zaloom (CZ): Your book presents a counterintuitive perspective: that emotions live between people, not only inside them. How did you come to see emotions as fundamentally social?

Batja Mesquita (BM): It is never clear how you get interested in a question, but the roots probably lie with my parents. They were Jewish. They survived the Second World War in hiding. At the end of the war, my mom was an orphan and my dad’s family was heavily reduced. There were so many losses and also fears that I knew about as a child. I don’t know how early I knew about them, but my parents were not particularly secretive about their experiences. Still, I couldn’t quite understand the emotions that my parents had from things that happened in the moment. I was always trying to understand where their emotions came from. As a four-year-old I didn’t know that I was going to become a professor who studies culture and emotion, of course. I do think, though, that the question where emotions come from has always been an interest of mine and may have been an interest of necessity all of my life.

More here.