When do people rely on affective and cognitive feelings in judgment? A review

Pers Soc Psychol Rev. 2011 May;15(2):107-41. doi: 10.1177/1088868310367640. Epub 2010 May 21.


Although people have been shown to rely on feelings to make judgments, the conditions that moderate this reliance have not been systematically reviewed and conceptually integrated. This article addresses this gap by jointly reviewing moderators of the reliance on both subtle affective feelings and cognitive feelings of ease-of-retrieval. The review revealed that moderators of the reliance on affective and cognitive feelings are remarkably similar and can be grouped into five major categories: (a) the salience of the feelings, (b) the representativeness of the feelings for the target, (c) the relevance of the feelings to the judgment, (d) the evaluative malleability of the judgment, and (e) the level of processing intensity. Based on the reviewed evidence, it is concluded that the use of feelings as information is a frequent event and a generally sensible judgmental strategy rather than a constant source of error. Avenues for future research are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Affect*
  • Cognition*
  • Emotions*
  • Humans
  • Intuition
  • Judgment*
  • Models, Psychological
  • Motivation