Cognitive Processes and Emotional Responses

How Cognitive Processes Can Influence Regulation of Emotional Responses

Cognitive processes do not operate in isolation from our emotional responses. In reality, there is abundant proof that cognitive processes strongly influence the regulation of emotional responses (Siemer et al. 2007). Simply put, our current mood tends to influence our judgment of the things we see and the people we meet. A good example is a situation when you are in a good mood, and then you are introduced to a new person versus when you are in a bad mood, and then you are introduced to the same person. In the first case, it is likely that you made a positive evaluation of the new person than you did when you met the same individual when you were in a bad mood. This influence of cognitive processes on our emotional responses also extends to our judgments about places. For instance, new places also seem good when you visit them when you are in the appositive mood. Therefore, positive cognitive processes are closely associated with positive appraisals, and the reverse is true (Roseman & Evdokas, 2004). Positive cognitive processes such as good moods may even minimize negative emotions and feelings towards others.

The Influence of Appraisal on Emotional Responses

Appraisal theory rests on the notion that specific judgments we make about ourselves and others are what cause our emotional responses (Roseman & Evdokas, 2004). This theory seems to influence many of our emotions strongly. For instance, a person’s appraisal pattern could easily explain the differences in emotional responses to the same event. Therefore, this theory helps a person to connect the situation he is in with his emotional responses. Given that one finds himself in a situation that is appraised negatively such as bereavement, the individual is likely to experience sadness. In other words, how a person feels depends on the current situation.

Examples of a conscious cognitive and unconscious cognitive process

Conscious cognitive process refers to the process of perception, learning, and memory, language and thought while being aware of it (Siemer et al. 2007). A good example of a conscious cognitive process is a student at the school. In class, students get new information and even new language. For them, they are aware that what they are being taught is new and they work hard to understand and even apply it in real life situations.

Unconscious cognitive process refers to the process of perception, learning, and memory, language and thought without being aware of it (Siemer et al. 2007). A good example of this process is the study of blindsight and amnesia. In the two cases, patients often have knowledge which is obtained from perception but they do not have conscious awareness of that knowledge.


Roseman, I. J., & Evdokas, A. (2004). Appraisals cause experienced emotions: Experimental evidence. Cognition & Emotion, 18(1), 1–28.

Siemer, M., Mauss, I., & Gross, J. J. (2007). Same situation—Different emotions: How appraisals shape our emotions. Emotion, 7(3), 592–600.