A child is killed in a car accident, and the child’s parents are sued by the driver of the truck that killed her. The driver wins.

The case hinges on a theory of emotion that’s relatively new but that has become commonly accepted: That emotions are out of our control; they happen to us, as a result of external events.

But recent research indicates that’s simply not the case. Emotion, says the research, is learned. And no single emotion is universal – not happiness, sadness, anger, fear – none of those emotions are present in every culture on Earth.


If I could wish for any superpower, it would be the ability to remember where I park.