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Abstract

Human thought is often automatic, heuristic, unconscious, and guided by emotion instead of being strictly logical and reasoned. Rather than regarding these characteristics as limitations, however, they actually allow rational outcomes to be achieved without the high cost of conscious deliberation. For example, negative affective reactions to illogic often encourage adherence to standards of logic and coherence. Rather than acting to suppress emotion, cognition generally shapes affective reactions into specific emotions. Such emotions can then guide action by providing self-education about likely consequences. Additionally, whereas cognitive constraints on negative emotions can reduce distress, freeing positive emotions from such constraints can enhance religious experience.