Many people think that you can separate your thoughts from your emotions.

They think that emotions get in their way of thinking clearly.

But it’s not thoughts vs emotions. It’s being rational vs being irrational.

Thoughts and emotions are inseparable. They depend on each other.

Here are some examples of emotions arising as a result of a cognitive process:

  • The emotion of fear is caused by judging something as threatening.
  • Anger is a reaction to thinking you’ve been insulted.
  • Interest is caused by appraising something as relevant or novel.

In a similar manner, you can’t think about something or memorize it if you don’t focus on it. And attention is often directed by emotions.

For example, seeing faces with emotional expressions activates the visual system in our brain more than seeing neutral faces.

The same thing applies to watching a war scene compared to watching a lake scene.

We also pay more attention to emotionally loaded words, than neutral words.

And last but not least, we pay attention to the things we’re interested in. And yes, interest is an emotion.