Students Staff

03 January 2013

‘Happy or sad – all in our genes?’ Professor Elaine Fox talks about latest research at Café Scientifique

Professor Elaine Fox

Professor Elaine Fox

What makes us happy or sad and how we can brighten our lives by retraining our brains will be discussed at the latest Café Scientifique talk in Colchester on Wednesday 9 January.

Professor Elaine Fox, an expert in cognitive psychology and neuroscience at the University of Essex, will talk about whether our optimism or pessimism - which can have a profound impact on our lives - is based on our genes or can be influenced by our actions.

Her latest book Rainy Brain Sunny Brain presents a wealth of new scientific evidence that overturns the proposition that our happiness or sadness is hardwired into the brain.

She argues our genes and the things that happen to us interleave to influence the brain circuits that make us who we are. She also highlights how we can begin to flourish by changing the way we think.

Actor Michael J Fox is among those who have praised Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain. He said: “For optimists and pessimists alike, this fascinating book is a must read.”

Her talk will be followed by an open discussion.

Originally started in Leeds in 1998, Café Scientifique aims to allow members of the public to hear from leading scientists and to bring people together to talk about science and technology. There are now around 40 cafes across the UK, with the Colchester Café Scientifique sponsored by the University of Essex and speakers giving their time free of charge.

All Café Scientifique talks are free and held at The Minories in Colchester High Street at 7pm, doors open at 6.30pm.

For further information call Ray White on 01621 891598 or view


For more information contact the University of Essex Communications Office on 01206 874377.

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