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Trends Cogn Sci. 2007 Sep;11(9):393-9. Epub 2007 Aug 16.

How emotions inform judgment and regulate thought.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22904, USA.


Being happy or sad influences the content and style of thought. One explanation is that affect serves as information about the value of whatever comes to mind. Thus, when a person makes evaluative judgments or engages in a task, positive affect can enhance evaluations and empower potential responses. Rather than affect itself, the information conveyed by affect is crucial. Tests of the hypothesis find that affective influences can be made to disappear by changing the source to which the affect is attributed. In tasks, positive affect validates and negative affect invalidates accessible cognitions, leading to relational processing and item-specific processing, respectively. Positive affect is found to promote, and negative affect to inhibit, many textbook phenomena from cognitive psychology.

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