Follow Your Heart: Emotion Adaptively Influences Perception



The current review introduces a new program of research that suggests the perception of spatial layout is influenced by emotions. Though perceptual systems are often described as closed and insulated, this review presents research suggesting that a variety of induced emotions (e.g., fear, disgust, sadness) can produce changes in vision and audition. Thus, the perceptual system may be highly interconnected, allowing emotional information to influence perceptions that, in turn, influence cognition. The body of work presented here also suggests that emotion-based changes in perception help us solve particular adaptive problems because emotion does not change all perceptions of the world. Taking the adaptive significance of emotion into account allows us to make predictions about when and how emotion influences perception.