ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2015, Vol. 23 ›› Issue (1): 61-71.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2015.00061

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Inhibition of Dominant Cognitive Processing by Negative Affect

JIN Jing; HU Jinsheng   

  1. (Department of Psychology, Liaoning Normal University, Dalian 116029, China)
  • Received:2014-02-17 Online:2015-01-15 Published:2015-01-15
  • Contact: HU Jinsheng, E-mail:


Dominant cognitive processing is reference to the information process in mind that is most accessible in a particular task. Recent researches on stereotype and counterstereotypic thoughts, global and local processing, relational and item-specific processing, holistic and analytic reasoning and goal pursuing consistently show that negative affect inhibits dominant cognitive processing. The extent of inhibition is contingent upon the clearness of dominant cognitive processing, the type of negative affect and how close dominant cognitive processing is related to negative affect. Studies using experiment or post-experiment process dissociation procedure show that negative affect inhibits dominant cognitive processing by inhibiting automatic processing. The theories that explain inhibition include the affect-as-information theory, the behavior approach-inhibition system view and the embodied affect view, with the first one being widely accepted. The meaning of dominant cognitive processing should be defined more clearly in the future, and the mechanism behind the phenomenon calls for further investigation.

Key words: negative affect, dominant cognitive processing, inhibition, affect-as-information theory