Handbook of Cognition and Emotion

By Tim Dalgleish; Mick J. Power | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Chapter 9
The Cognitive Science of
Attention and Emotion

Gerald Matthews*
University of Dundee, Dundee, UK and
Adrian Wells
University of Manchester, Manchester, UK


Emotion and attention are intimately linked. States of emotion influence both the contents of consciousness and performance on tasks requiring selection of stimuli or intensive concentration. In reviewing the relationship between emotion and attention, this chapter has three principal aims. First, we provide a brief overview of the cognitive science of attention and emotion, which focuses on both processing mechanisms and strategies for regulation of processing. We identify issues relating to automaticity and executive control as being of critical importance in theory development. We focus mainly on negative emotions, which have two distinct types of effect: impairment effects associated with reduced quality or efficiency of performance, and bias effects associated with prioritization of processing of stimuli of negative valence. Second, we consider how attentional disturbance and emotion may be interrelated within a comprehensive multi-level model, Wells & Matthews' s (1994b, 1996) Self-Regulatory Executive Function (S-REF) model. Third, we review clinical applications of the model.

Various definitions of attention have been provided (e.g. Posner, 1975), but central to the concept is the prioritization of some aspects of processing, possibly

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Handbook of Cognition and Emotion
Table of contents

Table of contents



Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 850

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?