Emotions are evolution’s way of building basic goals – wants – into the structure of the brain so that people can survive and thrive. Emotions are not an ‘add-on’, they are closely knitted to the brain’s information processing systems. There is not, on the one hand, reason and, on the other, passion; every decision made, and every action taken, involve the emotions. And just as thinking is distributed across the brain, so are emotions. The old-fashioned view of the brain used to be quite modular: ‘this part carries out this function’. Nowadays, it is realised that it’s more accurate to think of the connections between brain areas which underlie the brain’s function. This evolution in thinking is particularly relevant when discussing emotions, since they have historically been characterised as the ‘down there’ area of the brain – old, primitive, frankly, a bit embarrassing. The reality is that emotions are interwoven and connected all over the brain like the cheese in a cheesy quiche: intermingled, inseparable. After a brief tour of the emotional machinery of the brain, the importance of emotions in learning is discussed. Those who are curious are likely to prosper while those who are anxious may struggle. It is shown why this is so, in terms of what is happening in the brain. The clear conclusion is that considering motivation, stress, anxiety and emotional engagement in learning is not an optional extra; getting these working in the right direction is fundamental to effective learning.