Motivation and emotion/Book/2017/Implicit judgement and emotion

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Implicit judgment and emotion:
How do emotions impact our implicit judgements?


Case study 1: Sarah's Strange Decision Sarah walks into her favorite coffee shop every morning and orders her usual skim cappuccino but on this particular morning Sarah's barista asked, "hey, of our newest coffee blends which would you prefer to have today, the chocolate Indulgence or the organic cruelty free Kenyan blend?" Sarah was feeling especially nostalgic but in a rush so she chose instinctually the chocolate option without giving any further thought to she decision whatsoever. A few moments after paying she pondered her decision and thought to herself, why did she choose the chocolate blend when she has been consciously trying to make better health choices towards a more organic and paleo friendly diet. Why did Sarah's gut feelings to choose the chocolate blend go against directly against her more thought out decision for the Kenyan blend coffee beans with her coffee?

Case study 2: Lisa, the Evil? Stan was watching TV one day and as he was flicking through the channels he came across a game show reality program called Survivor. The aim of the game was to stay on an island for 55 days and to week-by-week vote off a contestant until only one was the remaining survivor. The game required the contestants to demonstrate strategy and cunning to blindside, manipulate and backstab friends and alliances in order to win survivor. Stan only watched the show twice; at the being[spelling?] and the end. The first show he watched he saw a contestant that gave him a strange gut feeling telling him that Lisa, one of the contestants, was an untrustworthy character. Stan could in no way explain the feeling but intuitively judged Lisa to be the most evil person on the show. Stan tuned into watch the Finale in which he found out his feelings were true as Lisa revealed to the rest of the contestant she had been lying and manipulating them all to gain their trust so she could use even her closest freinds[spelling?] to do her bidding. How was Stan able to make a decision as to the character of Lisa even though he couldn't explain why he felt that way?

The focus of this book chapter is answer the questions as to how emotions impact our implicit judgments. The key concepts to be covered include clearly defining and providing theoretical as well as research evidence on firstly, what implicit judgments are and how they operate. A brief understanding of what emotions are and then providing concepts to delve into how emotions impact implicit judgments is also included. Through examining key theoretical frameworks for how emotions impact implicit judgments, such as the dual process theory, appraisal theory and the fluency affect theory the impact emotions have on how implicit judgments are made will be uncovered. Throughout the book chapter key research evidence linking each theory further solidifies the theorist arguments and also for a practical and empirical look at the role of emotion on implicit judgments.

Key questions to be answered:

  • How do emotions effect our implicit decision making?
  • What are behavioral implications of emotions on implicit judgments?

Implicit judgments[edit]

[Provide more detail]


Understanding what implicit judgments are and what mechanisms are involved to construct the process of implicit judgments enables a better understanding of the role emotions play in effecting implicit judgments. Implicit judgments are evaluations or decisions made about a stimulus or environment based on information that is originated, sorted and retrieved from the unconscious mind (Bolte, Goschke & Kuhl, 2003). Activation in brain of a common association between the different stimuli is thought to be the underlying mechanism of implicit judgments of stimuli in sematic[spelling?] coherence tasks (Bolte & Goschke, 2005). 

In word coherence tasks where participants are asked if coherence can be made to word triads found that subconscious activation from areas in the memory lead participants to perceive weak associations of coherence and correct implicit judgment of the word coherences (Bowers, Regehr, Balthazard & Parker, 1990).  Bowers et al. (1990) developed a two stage model for intuitive decision making,[grammar?] the first begin that the sensory input exposes clues to which mnemonic and sematic[spelling?] networks are activated, thus creating coherence, cumulatively and also unconsciously. The second phase, the integrative stage, is the[grammar?] when the activation of the networks work together to cross the threshold of consciousness where verbalisation and further decision making occurs. 

Ritter and Dijskterhuis (2014) built upon the organisational aspect of implicit judgment making in which they proposed that during an incubation period, unconscious thoughts becomes more organised and when a certain threshold is reached judgments are concluded and brought into the consciousness. Creativity is thought to manifest during this incubation period of unconscious thought.

Example 1: Incubation Period Holden, a 10th grade high school student had a math problem that he could truly not work out, no matter which way he analysed or focused on the problem, [grammar?]it just become more and more difficult for him to solve. Holden decided to come back to the problem after some soccer with his friends as he was getting more and more frustrated by his math homework. After he came back, giving the question no thought whilst away, he was able to solve effortlessly. This is an example of how the time away enabled Holden's incubation period to flow and encourage creative thinking in order for him to complete his homework.

What is also understood about implicit judgment is that is cannot be easily changed with new information (Rydell, McConnell, Mackie & Strain, 2017). Single instances of oppositional information dose[spelling?] little to change implicit judgments that have been formed over time. It being [grammar?] that one of the fundamental characteristics of implicit judgment making is that it is formed over longtime[spelling?] period and fundamentally forms coherence between stimuli. This evidence proves that the basis of implicit coherences is solid and resistant to readily adaptive change or influence. However contrary research has demonstrated that implicit judgments towards novel targets were made quite rapidly (Gregg, Seibt & Banaji, 2006; De Houwer, 2006).

Speed of thinking[edit]

A key characteristic of implicit judgment making is the speed at which they are made. The fundamental concept that decisions are made outside of conscious awareness is essential to understanding how our mind are able to make a decision when there is little time to weigh up a list of pro and cons to make a logical deduced decision.  Research experiments conclude that when participants were asked to judge if three words were associated with one and other or not, inferring coherence between words required 2.3 seconds after the last word was presented, demonstrates the speed at which correct intuitive judgments are made [grammar?] (Bolte & Goschke, 2005). Such rapid decision making does not give time to make a ration[grammar?] thought out evaluation and it is important to note the time taken to make implicit judgment also included the time taken to read the word triad, meaning that the time required to make an implicit judgment is actually much smaller.

Biological structure and neural pathway    [edit]

Utilizing fMRI technology it was found that right hemispheric processes are more activated when associations between weakly related items are made than compared to the left hemisphere (Ilg et al., 2003). Further analysis found that bilateral inferior parietal and right superior temporal areas were activated during a the implicit judgement tasks of semantic word associations (Jung-Beeman et al., 2004).

The neural network activated in semantic coherence research into the neural pathways activation during semantic coherence task revealed a bi[spelling?] lateral orbito-frontal gyrus activation in the sub[spelling?] threshold stages of the coherence judgment trail in comparison to the non[spelling?] coherence judgment trail (Zander, Horr, Bolte & Volz, 2015).

How does it differ from Implicit memory? [edit]

Implicit memory and implicit judgment does have some contention surrounding how similar they are due to the similar internal processes that occur but it is important to make a distinction of the two[awkward expression?].  The similarities they share coincide as they both utilise an unconscious process. They differ in the fact that information that is stored for memory is entirely unique [grammar?] than information that is stored for making decisions and so are the respective neural and cognitive processes (Volz & Zander, 2014).

Although they are different systems they do interact with each other. The memory systems model offers some theoretical insight into the role memory has to play in relation to implicit judgments. The memory system model posits that especially,[grammar?] during social implicit judgments multiple systems interact and each system has their own characteristics and the speed at which the systems are learned, which is proportional to the speed at which the information can be removed (Cone & Ferguson, 2017).

Theories and research evidence of how emotions impact implicit judgments [edit]

Case Study 3: Negative Moods and Possible Danger Detrimental emotions are experienced by people in situations that require rapid judgment [grammar?] for example a person is exposed to a potentially threatening danger, the ability of the person to make a judgment to identify the possible danger is imperative but what happens when the person has been in unusually stressful and negative moods, will this impact the judgment made and will the negative mood influence the outcome[Rewrite to improve clarity]?

Many people's everyday lives consist of choices to function and operate and achieve what is most needed. Of these judgments they can be either explicit or implicit. The direct impact emotions play on implicit decision making is important to gain deeper understanding on what influences our behaviors. The following section is on the main theories that describe how emotions affect implicit judgments.   

Dual-Process theory[edit]

Everyday choices are made by utilising two distinct cognitive processes, either using logic or through intuitive decision making (Zander, Fernandez Cruz, Winkelmann & Volz, 2016). The first utilising a logical and deliberate process that is consciously initiated and clearly understood by the individual making the decision[grammar?]. The second, an intuitive decision that the individual arrives to a conclusion entirely within the individual's subconscious mind, without any rational thought almost like a decision that just "feels" right to the individual[grammar?]. The implicit judgment process, with regards to dual processing, is activated through the repeated experience to stimuli[grammar?]. The repeated experience to the stimuli along with positive or negative affect of the experience compound within the individual's memory and enables rapid associations between the stimuli and the reaction[grammar?]. These repeated experiences must occur within minimal spatial and temporal proximity and repeated over a long period of time (Cone & Ferguson, 2017).

The role emotions play in our implicit judgment making is a fundamental one as hypothesised by Zander et al. (2016). The role emotions play in our implicit judgments was first identified by Vaughan (1979), in which he discovered that our implicit judgments are brought into our consciousness through our emotions. Further developments on the dual processing concept demonstrated that logic based processing draws from logic and language as well as learned from a short number of experiences, where as[spelling?] implicit decision making draws from similarity and congruity- like gestalt laws, learned through a plethora of experience and occurs without conscious awareness but only during the conclusion (Smith & DeCoster, 2000)[for example?].

Dual process theory can more practically explain why some people have completely different explicit values than their implicit judgments and some argue that this might be the cause behind some maladaptive behaviors (Cone & Ferguson, 2017).  The dual process theory gives rise to cognitive dissonances changing explicit judgments. but not implicit changes in evaluations as it highlight the different underlying mechanisms that construct the two process (Gawronski & Strack, 2004)[for example?].

Appraisal theory[edit]

Appraisal theory states that certain emotions effect[spelling?] decision making as it can determine the processing style to be utilised during the decision (Tiedens & Linton's 2001). Appraisal theory says that an event is described by many appraisal dimensions that in turn determine our emotions (Tong, Tan & Tan, 2013). Appraisals provide a specific dimension of the environment and serve to help the individual emotionally respond to the environment and are environment specific and contribute to the emotional reaction due to the situation. Implicit appraisal refers to the associative processes that occur to effect emotions, [grammar?] they specifically are semantic meanings in memory beyond consciousness(Tong, Tan & Tan, 2013). Relevant research into the behavioral implications of the impact emotions play on implicit judgments was investigated in jurors[grammar?] decision-making.(Nunez et al, 2015). A mock jury was presented information that would elicit sadness or anger and then asked to make a sentence and recall the mitigating factors in the case. Sadness according to appraisal theory makes the jurors process information at a deeper level and anger at lead to more death sentence verdicts. The results of the study indicated that for both fear and anger groups recalled the mitigating facts the same but the anger group did lead to a higher rate of death sentencing (Nuñez, Schweitzer, Chai & Myers, 2015).

Fluency affect intuition model[edit]

Deconstruction of concepts within the fluency affect intuition model (FAIM) facilitates digestion as to what FAIM is[for example?]. Firstly, fluency describes the speed and efficacy of an information processing system that is ignited by perception (Reber, Wurtz, & Zimmermann, 2004). Higher fluency tasks have demonstrated to elicit feelings of positive affect in visual fluency tasks (Winkielman & Cacioppo, 2001). A positive mood enables people to be more reliant on fluency whereas people in a bad mood tend to not rely on feelings of fluency as much (Ruder & Bless, 2003). Originally determined by Metcalf (1983), intuition described a feeling of warmth. The fluency of coherence word triads is higher than in incoherent word triads as it activates the common association of the words and accordingly, the increase in fluency elicits a positive affect (Topolinski, 2011). The positive affect, caused by the fluency, theorist descibe[spelling?] act as the internal clue or signal in an implicit judgment (Topolinski & Strack, 2009). Described by Topolinski (2011) fluency and affect interplay as the "internal architecture of coherence intuition"[for example?].

Research demonstrated the effect affect has had on implicit judgment making[factual?]. When participants were asked to complete a semantic coherence task, the control group had music playing in the background but [missing something?] told the music was relaxation and the experimental group [missing something?] told that the music was used to elicit an emotional response. The participants were told that music had brought out an emotional response previously to create an external source of causing the affect within the participant. The results indicated that emotions played a determinant role in coherent implicit judgments and [grammar?] thus supporting the fluency affect theory (Topolinski, 2011). The research conducted was obtained from university student of psychology[say what?], and might be not generalizable enough for the wider population. In order to make the evidence to support the theory more generalisable, future studies need to incorporate participants from the diverse community [grammar?] The behavioral implication of the theory lead to explain aspects of moral reasoning and stereotype disconfirmation (Topolinski, 2011)[explain?].

Behavioural implications[edit]

Implicit judgment and affect also has been shown to influence our behaviors and implicit attitudes, demonstrated through research on how implicit racisms[grammar?] occur. A study conducted by Devine (1989) found that many people had racial prejudges[grammar?] toward black Americans without their conscious awareness. Behaviorally implicit racist people showed to be friendlier to white confederates than black (McConnell & Leibold, 2001). Banks and Hicks (2015) theorised that racial prejudices towards black Americans develops from an early age as white American children learn to associate the unfamiliarity of the different skin colour as threatening and therefore to associating the threatening emotions feelings with black people.  The theory of emotional priming states that when information is learned during an emotional event, the same information is readily retrieved during the same states of emotion when first the information was learnt (Banks & Hicks, 2015). Conscious awareness is not needed for the effect of emotional priming to occur and thus can occurring and confer implicit judgments (Johnson, Kim, & Riff, 1985). To examine this theory [grammar?] Banks and Hicks (2015) divided participants into three groups and showed the angry experimental group a picture of an angry person and asked them to explain the picture and pervious[spelling?] times the participant had experienced anger, to induce emotions of anger within the participant. The same was done to a relaxed/control group with a relaxed photo and the fear group with picture of a frightened person. All three groups were then exposed to an implicit racism test. The results demonstrated that implicit racism was significantly more prominent in the fear group compared to the control/relaxed group and the angry group. The experiment was conducted to mainly evaluate how the fear component of implicit judgment plays a role in law and policy making on racial matters thus the results cannot be generalised to all racial political and social issues. Further research in the area is required to fully understand the ramifications of the study. The positive outcome of this study is that is demonstrates a clear behavioral outcome influenced by implicit judgments from fear and demonstrates how that can effect attitudes, such as policy making which consequently could have huge ramification for minority groups.


[Provide more detail]


Choose the correct answer and submit.


what is crucial component in implicit judgments?

explicit memory retrieval
unconscious cognitive process
verbalisation of judgement


Which theory/model was NOT discussed?.

Fluency affect intuition model
Dynamics of action model
Dual processing theory
Appraisal theory

See also[edit]


Banks, A., & Hicks, H. (2015). Fear and Implicit Racism: Whites’ Support for Voter ID laws. Political Psychology, 37(5), 641-658., A., & Hicks, H. (2015). Fear and Implicit Racism: Whites’ Support for Voter ID laws. Political Psychology, 37(5), 641-658.

Bolte, A., & Goschke, T. (2005). On the speed of intuition: Intuitive judgments of semantic coherence under different response deadlines. Memory & Cognition, 33(7), 1248-1255.

Bolte, A., Goschke, T., & Kuhl, J. (2003). Emotion and Intuition. Psychological Science, 14(5), 416-421.

Bowers, K., Regehr, G., Balthazard, C., & Parker, K. (1990). Intuition in the context of discovery. Cognitive Psychology, 22(1), 72-110.

Cone, J., & Ferguson, M. (2017). He did what? The role of diagnosticity in revising implicit evaluations.. Retrieved 22 October 2017

De Houwer, J. (2006). Using the Implicit Association Test does not rule out an impact of conscious propositional knowledge on evaluative conditioning. Retrieved 26 October 2017

Devine, P. (1989). Stereotypes and prejudice: Their automatic and controlled components. Journal Of Personality And Social Psychology, 56(1), 5-18.

Ekman, P. (1992). An argument for basic emotions. Cognition And Emotion, 6(3-4), 169-200.

Gawronski, B., & Strack, F. (2004). On the propositional nature of cognitive consistency: Dissonance changes explicit, but not implicit attitudes. Journal Of Experimental Social Psychology, 40(4), 535-542.

Gregg, A., Seibt, B., & Banaji, M. (2006). Easier done than undone: Asymmetry in the malleability of implicit preferences. Journal Of Personality And Social Psychology, 90(1), 1-20.

Ilg, R., Vogeley, K., Goschke, T., Bolte, A., Shah, N., & Fink, G. (2004). Neural correlates of intuition: an event-related fMRI study of implicit perception of semantic coherence. Aktuelle Neurologie, 31(S 1).

Johnson, M., Kim, J., & Risse, G. (1985). Do alcoholic Korsakoff's syndrome patients acquire affective reactions?. Journal Of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, And Cognition, 11(1), 22-36.

Jung-Beeman, M., Bowden, E., Haberman, J., Frymiare, J., Arambel-Liu, S., & Greenblatt, R. et al. (2004). Neural Activity When People Solve Verbal Problems with Insight. Plos Biology, 2(4), e97.

McConnell, A., & Leibold, J. (2001). Relations among the Implicit Association Test, Discriminatory Behavior, and Explicit Measures of Racial Attitudes. Journal Of Experimental Social Psychology, 37(5), 435-442.

Metcalfe, J. (1986). Feeling of knowing in memory and problem solving. Journal Of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, And Cognition, 12(2), 288-294.

Nesse, R., & Ellsworth, P. (2009). Evolution, emotions, and emotional disorders. American Psychologist, 64(2), 129-139.

Nuñez, N., Schweitzer, K., Chai, C., & Myers, B. (2015). Negative Emotions Felt During Trial: the Effect of Fear, Anger, and Sadness on Juror Decision Making. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 29(2), 200-209.

Reber, R., Wurtz, P., & Zimmermann, T. (2004). Exploring “fringe” consciousness: The subjective experience of perceptual fluency and its objective bases. Consciousness And Cognition, 13(1), 47-60.

Ritter, S., & Dijksterhuis, A. (2014). Creativity- The Unconscious Foundations of the Incubation Period. Frontiers In Human Neuroscience, 8.

Ruder, M., & Bless, H. (2003). Mood and the reliance on the ease of retrieval heuristic. Journal Of Personality And Social Psychology, 85(1), 20-32.

Rydell, R., McConnell, A., Mackie, D., & Strain, L. (2017). Of Two Minds: Forming and changing valence-inconsistent implicit and explicit attitudes.. Retrieved 26 October 2017

Smith, E., & DeCoster, J. (2000). Dual-Process Models in Social and Cognitive Psychology: Conceptual Integration and Links to Underlying Memory Systems. Personality And Social Psychology Review, 4(2), 108-131.

Strack, F., & Deutsch, R. (2004). Reflective and Impulsive Determinants of Social Behavior. Personality And Social Psychology Review, 8(3), 220-247.

Tiedens, L., & Linton, S. (2001). Judgment under emotional certainty and uncertainty: The effects of specific emotions on information processing. Journal Of Personality And Social Psychology, 81(6), 973-988.

Tong, E., Tan, D., & Tan, Y. (2013). Can implicit appraisal concepts produce emotion-specific effects? A focus on unfairness and anger. Consciousness And Cognition, 22(2), 449-460.

Topolinski, S. (2011). A process model of intuition. European Review Of Social Psychology, 22(1), 274-315.

Topolinski, S., & Strack, F. (2009). The analysis of intuition: Processing fluency and affect in judgements of semantic coherence. Cognition & Emotion, 23(8), 1465-1503.

Vaughan, F. (1979). Awakening intuition. Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor Books.

Volz, K., & Zander, T. (2014). Primed for intuition?. Neuroscience Of Decision Making, 1.

Winkielman, P., & Cacioppo, J. (2001). Mind at ease puts a smile on the face: Psychophysiological evidence that processing facilitation elicits positive affect. Journal Of Personality And Social Psychology, 81(6), 989-1000.

Zander, T., Fernandez Cruz, A., Winkelmann, M., & Volz, K. (2016). Scrutinizing the Emotional Nature of Intuitive Coherence Judgments. Journal Of Behavioral Decision Making, 30(3), 693-707.

Zander, T., Horr, N., Bolte, A., & Volz, K. (2015). Intuitive decision making as a gradual process: investigating semantic intuition-based and priming-based decisions with fMRI. Brain And Behavior, 6(1), n/a-n/a.

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