Affective incoherence: when affective concepts and embodied reactions clash

UMMS Affiliation

Center for Health Policy and Research

Publication Date


Document Type



*Affect; Attention; Comprehension; *Concept Formation; *Conflict (Psychology); Cues; Culture; Female; Humans; Male; Memory, Short-Term; *Mental Recall; Motivation; *Reading; Retention (Psychology)


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


In five studies, the authors examined the effects on cognitive performance of coherence and incoherence between conceptual and experiential sources of affective information. The studies crossed the priming of happy and sad concepts with affective experiences. In different experiments, these included approach or avoidance actions, happy or sad feelings, and happy or sad expressive behaviors. In all studies, coherence between affective concepts and affective experiences led to better recall of a story than did affective incoherence. The authors suggest that the experience of such experiential affective cues serves as evidence of the appropriateness of affective concepts that come to mind. The results suggest that affective coherence has epistemic benefits and that incoherence is costly in terms of cognitive performance.

DOI of Published Version



J Pers Soc Psychol. 2008 Apr;94(4):560-78. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of personality and social psychology

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID