Levine publishes book that advocates for balance, partnership between reason and emotion

A professor of psychology at The University of Texas at Arlington has published a new book that examines the need to balance cognitive and emotional processes and to place equal importance on emotion...

Monday, Jun 28, 2021

Doctor Daniel Levine
Daniel Levine, UTA professor of psychology

A professor of psychology at The University of Texas at Arlington has published a new book that examines the need to balance cognitive and emotional processes and to place equal importance on emotion and reason.

Daniel Levine is author of the general audience book, titled Healing the Reason-Emotion Split: Scarecrows, Tin Woodmen, and the Wizard. It was published by Routledge in December and is copyrighted 2021.

The book has three main themes, Levine said. The first is that recent study results from neuroscience and experimental psychology are inconsistent with the beliefs that reason and emotion are opposites and that reason is superior to emotion. Secondly, the split between reason and emotion is harmful to society. Thirdly, science can help to heal that split, to the benefit of society.

“This book argues that emotion and reason should be treated as partners,” Levine said. “Moreover, it argues that recent advances in neuroscience, experimental psychology, and computational modeling of neural systems support the existence of, and the need to encourage, partnership between emotion and reason.”

Levine argues that reason and emotion mutually benefit people’s decision-making abilities. The book explores the belief that understanding this relationship could have long-term advantages for our management of many of the biggest problems facing society. He examines how reason and emotion were utilized in movements throughout history, including the Enlightenment, Romanticism, and the counterculture of the 1960s.

“We need emotion to feel the importance of doing something and we need reason to carry it out effectively,” Levine said. “Asking 'should I act on reason or emotion?' makes no more sense than asking ‘should I drive with my hands or with my feet?’ .”

The book integrates discussion on classic and contemporary neurological studies and uses allegory to make the case for societal change through compassion.

Levine has extensive experience studying neural networks, decision making, and cognitive-emotional interactions. His laboratory deals with both experimental and theoretical studies of these areas. He is a fellow and former president of the International Neural Network Society.

Other books Levine has authored include Introduction to Neural and Cognitive Modeling (Routledge, third edition published in 2019) and the e-book Common Sense and Common Nonsense: A Conversation about Mental Attitudes, Science, and Society (Mavs Open Press, 2018).

The new book is available at the Routledge website at https://www.routledge.com/Healing-the-Reason-Emotion-Split-Scarecrows-Tin-Woodmen-and-the-Wizard/Levine/p/book/9780367856830 or by contacting the author at levine@uta.edu.