6. How can emotions be regulated?
The 2015 Pixar movie Inside Out has popularized the work of psychologist Paul Eckman, who identified six basic emotions that seem to be universally recognized, namely: anger, fear, sadness, disgust, joy and surprise. These emotions play a role in ensuring our survival; fear, for example, helps us to prioritize our actions in the face of danger. Even seemingly negative emotions such as sadness could help us by prompting us to change for the better.
But emotional disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder and depression also take their toll. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry estimates that depression costs the United States as much as US$210 billion in healthcare expenditure every year. Despite the advent of blockbuster drugs like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, we still barely understand how emotions arise and in which specific areas of the brain, much less how to treat complex emotional disorders.