Emotional Motivations and Deep Cognition

Authors: Lilleker, D.G.

Pages: 115-133

DOI: 10.1057/9781137313430_7


Citizens will rely on habitual responses to political communication when that suits them and they see no reason to re-evaluate their attitudes, weak or strong, towards individuals or parties. However, when circumstances necessitate, and specific emotional states are encouraged, voters will engage in much deeper forms of cognitive consideration. At points communication can spur citizens to desire to learn more. Academics of psychology and cognition describe the process of a desire to learn more in various ways; one useful descriptor is hot cognition. Hot cognition is described as both a positive and a negative. Owing to the fact that it involves cognitive arousal, it is argued to be purely an intense stimulation of emotions that will usually result in reflexive action: here we may consider the point of sale purchase that must later be rationalised given the purely irrational and ill-considered nature of the behaviour. Hot cognition was contrasted negatively with rational and logical thought, cold cognition, by Robert Abelson way back in 1963 (Abelson, 1963). However, there is a question as to whether deep cognition ever occurs without some form of hot cognition. What are the stimuli that make any individual think more about a topic, then seek further information and so become cognitively involved?

Source: Scopus