Attention and Emotion

Daily life presents such a bombardment of information that people would be overloaded without some means of prioritizing what they process. Attention and emotion systems both contribute to such prioritization. Emotions, for example, provide rapid, efficient means for identifying high-priority aspects of the environment, and attention mechanisms allow people to select manageable subsets from an otherwise overwhelming influx of information. Although these two systems influence each other, studies of attention within the traditional perception literature have often overlooked the role of emotion, examining instead how attention operates on various perceptual features. But the world is not characterized solely by assemblages of colors, angles, and motions; the objects, people, and events around us resonate with emotional meaning, so it is crucial to understand how attention and ...

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