Feeling and thinking: Preferences need no inferences

R. B. Zajonc
1980 American Psychologist  
Affect is considered by most contemporary theories to be postcognitive, that is, to occur only after considerable cognitive operations have been accomplished. Yet a number of experimental results on preferences, attitudes, impression formation, and de-_ cision making, as well as some clinical phenomena, suggest that affective judgments may be fairly independent of, and precede in time, the sorts of perceptual and cognitive operations commonly assumed to be the basis of these affective
more » ... affective judgments. Affective reactions to stimuli are often the very first reactions of the organism, and for lower organisms they are the dominant reactions. Affective reactions can occur without extensive perceptual and cognitive encoding, are made with greater confidence than cognitive judgments, and can be made sooner. Experimental evidence is presented demonstrating that reliable affective discriminations (like-dislike ratings) can be made in the total absence of recognition memory (old-new judgments). Various differences between judgments based on affect and those based on perceptual and cognitive processes are examined. It is concluded that affect and cognition are under the control of separate and partially independent systems that can influence each other in a variety of ways, and that both constitute independent sources of effects in information processing.
doi:10.1037/0003-066x.35.2.151 fatcat:4npcvpraovgtnfrnvcgxfci2ru