How does your brain process emotions: Lessons from the Disney/Pixar movie “Inside Out”

The recently released movie “Inside Out” may wow you with its animations and special effects, but it is not a children’s movie.  We peer inside the brain of a young girl and see five emotions – joy, sadness, anger, disgust, and fear – fighting to control what will be imprinted into her core memory, and with which emotional “color.” Encourage everyone in your forum to watch the movie before your next meeting, and then pose some of these questions suggested by Abigail Burd:

  1. When we meet Riley, most of the time Joy is in charge of her thoughts and personality. Which emotion(s) do you feel most often?
  2. Riley and her family go through a lot of changes when they move from Minnesota to San Francisco. Have you ever gone through a big transition like this?
  3. How are the glowing balls, or “core memories” made? What are yours?
  4. What do the core memories have to do with Riley’s personality?
  5. When Sadness touches one of the happy core memories, she colors it blue. What do you think is going on then? Is it possible that our current moods can color our past memories? Or how we define our personality?
  6. When Riley’s mother tells her that she is helping her parents by being their “happy girl,” Riley feels pressure to only show them her joy. What do you think of this?
  7. Do you think that our society values certain emotions over others? Which ones?
  8. At the end of the movie, Joy learns that other emotions, especially Sadness, are also important. Why?
  9. Do you think it is easier for males or females, or for younger or older people, to express different emotions? Which ones? Why?

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