Cognitive Load Mediates the Effect of Emotion on Analytical Thinking.

TitleCognitive Load Mediates the Effect of Emotion on Analytical Thinking.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuteursTrémolière, B, Gagnon, M-E, Blanchette, I
JournalExp Psychol
Date Published2016 Nov
KeywordsCognition, Emotions, Female, Humans, Male, Thinking, Young Adult

Although the detrimental effect of emotion on reasoning has been evidenced many times, the cognitive mechanism underlying this effect remains unclear. In the present paper, we explore the cognitive load hypothesis as a potential explanation. In an experiment, participants solved syllogistic reasoning problems with either neutral or emotional contents. Participants were also presented with a secondary task, for which the difficult version requires the mobilization of cognitive resources to be correctly solved. Participants performed overall worse and took longer on emotional problems than on neutral problems. Performance on the secondary task, in the difficult version, was poorer when participants were reasoning about emotional, compared to neutral contents, consistent with the idea that processing emotion requires more cognitive resources. Taken together, the findings afford evidence that the deleterious effect of emotion on reasoning is mediated by cognitive load.

Alternate JournalExp Psychol
PubMed ID28059027