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Abstract

The affect-as-information framework posits that affect is embodied information about value and importance. The valence dimension of affect provides evaluative information about stimulus objects, which plays a role in judgment and decision-making. Affect can also provide evaluative information about one's own cognitions and response inclinations, information that guides thinking and reasoning. In particular, positive affect often promotes, and negative affect inhibits, accessible responses or dominant modes of thinking. Affect thus moderates many of the textbook phenomena in cognitive psychology. In the current review, we suggest additionally that the arousal dimension of affect amplifies reactions, leading to intensified evaluations, increased reliance on particular styles of learning, and enhanced long-term memory for events. We conclude that whereas valenced affective cues serve as information about value, the arousal dimension provides information about urgency or importance.