Molecules of Emotion: Book Review

The featured audiobook is a recording of an abridged version of ‘Molecules of Emotion. Why you feel the way you do’ written and narrated by Professor Candace Pert. This is an interesting work by Professor Pert who has  written a book geared towards the general public and which tells a fascinating story of her own journey through science. and she is also adept at narrating her work in an engaging style Pert discusses her experiences of working in a male dominated research lab and her independent spirit in finding an endogenous opiate receptor and the subsequent struggle to gain recognition for this achievement despite being passed over for the Lasker Prize in favour of three of the other scientists involved in the work leading up to the discovery. Pert describes some of the subsequent dynamics that developed in the science community when news of her omission went public. She goes onto describe the workings of a research scientist including the creation of her own lab! Pert also discusses the field of psychoneuroimmunology via the actions of peptides which allows the nervous and immune systems to form parallel communicating networks. The discovery of the opiate receptor, the actions of peptides and the difficulties that can be faced by women working in science were for me the most important aspects of this books. There is also an interesting personal narrative which involves a meeting with Deepak Chopra and her own process of individuation which involves an exploration of her values and a move away from the competitive mindset that was necessary in her early career environment. Pert is undoubtedly a courageous and pioneering lady who has benefitted others by being so. This is a which as well as communicating some important findings in neuroscience and immunology also conveys the experiences of her life as a research scientist and as a woman fighting for equality in her work in a male-dominated environment.


Candace Pert. Molecules of Emotion. 1997. Abridged Work in Audiobook Format. Narrated by Candace Pert. Simon and Schuster Audio.


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The comments made here represent the opinions of the author and do not represent the profession or any body/organisation. The comments made here are not meant as a source of medical advice and those seeking medical advice are advised to consult with their own doctor. The author is not responsible for the contents of any external sites that are linked to in this blog.


    • Dear Finiavindine,

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