Chapter Summary

• Does affect require cognition? Affective responses can occur without any conscious awareness of cognitive processing. However, pre-conscious cognitive processing generally precedes any affective reaction when there is no conscious awareness of cognitive processing. LeDoux has shown the existence of a fast, non-conscious emotion circuit and a slow, cortical emotion circuit. Power and Dalgleish have put forward a multi-level theory in which emotion can be produced either automatically or via conscious processes.

• Theories of emotional processing. Bower's network theory applies to mood and emotional processing, and Beck's schema theory applies to personality and emotional processing. Network theory predicts mood-state dependent recall, mood congruity, thought congruity, and mood intensity. Mood states can be induced by means of the Velten procedure. According to Beck's schema theory, schemas or knowledge structures (when activated) produce processing biases, in which the processing of schema-consistent or emotionally congruent information is favoured. The two theories can be combined in the moderator or mediator approaches. Williams et al. have proposed a theory, according to which anxiety enhances perceptual processing of threat-related stimuli and depression increases conceptual processing of such stimuli.

• Emotion and memory. There is experimental support for mood congruity and mood-state-dependent recall. Bower has proposed a causal belongingness theory, according to which memory is best when the learner perceives that his or her mood state has been caused by the learning material. Eich and Metcalfe argued that mood has stronger effects on memory for internal events than for external events.

• Attention and perception. Anxious individuals have attentional and interpretive biases, and these biases are greater in stressful conditions. Interpretive bias depends on strategic rather than automatic processes, whereas the opposite is the case with attentional bias. Depressed individuals mostly show an interpretive bias, but no attentional bias. Anxiety has the function of detecting potential dangers, and this leads to enhanced perceptual processing of threatening stimuli. Depression is involved in replacing failed goals, and this leads to increased conceptual processing of threat-related information.

• Conclusions on emotional processing. There is reasonable support for the moderator approach, which claims that emotional processing depends interactively on personality and mood state. Network and schema theories mistakenly assume the following: (1) there will be facilitated processing of emotion-congruent information in virtually all situations; and (2) different emotional states have the same effects on cognitive processing. The theory of Williams et al. accounts for the differences in cognitive biases between anxious and depressed individuals better than network or schema theory.

Business Correspondence

Business Correspondence

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