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Review article: Biomedical intelligence

Vol. 143 No. 1920 (2013)

The impact of emotion on perception, attention, memory, and decision-making

  • Tobias Brosch
  • Klaus Scherer
  • Didier Grandjean
  • David Sander
Cite this as:
Swiss Med Wkly. 2013;143:w13786


Reason and emotion have long been considered opposing forces. However, recent psychological and neuroscientific research has revealed that emotion and cognition are closely intertwined. Cognitive processing is needed to elicit emotional responses. At the same time, emotional responses modulate and guide cognition to enable adaptive responses to the environment. Emotion determines how we perceive our world, organise our memory, and make important decisions. In this review, we provide an overview of current theorising and research in the Affective Sciences. We describe how psychological theories of emotion conceptualise the interactions of cognitive and emotional processes. We then review recent research investigating how emotion impacts our perception, attention, memory, and decision-making. Drawing on studies with both healthy participants and clinical populations, we illustrate the mechanisms and neural substrates underlying the interactions of cognition and emotion.


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