In scientific studies, emotion is often referred to as “affect”, so the term can be thought of as emotion infusion.
When we experience an emotion, such things as our processing of information, the memories we recall, the things to which we react, the speed of our thinking, the type of things we ignore and our likelihood of accepting advice differ according to which emotion is being experienced. Many of these differences are shown to occur depending upon whether the emotion is positive or negative. It is clear, however, that well developed emotions have their own dedicated features. Affect infusion is thus the term used for studies into an array of effects that emotions have over our thinking across the social spectrum.
Below are some of the studied effects that fall under the banner of affect infusion.
How we process information varies depending on if we are experiencing positive or negative emotions.
Positive emotional states: our thinking is quicker, we come to decisions much faster as we are instinctively motivated to refer to what we currently know (as opposed to searching for outside information in an effortful manner) about a situation and to keep searches of that information relatively shallow. In certain situations processing information in this way gives advantages. People in a continuously positive state are more bubbly and adopt more creative thinking which includes a broader range of categories while showing more flexibility with that information and greater ability to include secondary tasks in their performance.
Negative emotional states: tend to make people more vigilant and motivated to search for solutions in an externally focused way which places an emphasis on situational information. Negative emotions are therefore highly associated with problem solving attitudes.
Negative emotional states tend to make people more polite and indirect in their communication, and their requests can be much more elaborate.
Positive emotional states tend to make people less polite and more direct in their communications, and their requests are less elaborate.
The same smile on a face can be judged differently when experiencing a very positive emotional state (say friendly and warm) and a very negative emotional state (say vaguely uninterested).
Superficial message processing when glad.
High-quality message processing when sad.
When happy, people have a resistance to processing situations that will make them sad.
When happy, people spend lots of time engaging with material which will keep them happy.
Hope is associated with a greater amount of adaptive ideas and attitudes regarding taking care of oneself.
Although the factors involved are extremely complex and not understood, increased immune system functioning is linked with expression of emotions and a decrease with suppression and repression.
English. Affect = emotion + Infusion = the act of outside elements permeating into something else.
1. A psychological model of how the experience of different emotions introduce highly specific biasses into cognition.