In psychology, there has been extensive research based on the debate concerning the interdependency of emotion and cognition. Since these two systems of processing information are based on a complex combination of neurobiological processes in the brain, the intensity of the effect of one on another has been studied in-depth. Recent research findings prove that cognitive and emotional processes are not separate, but interdependent, which is why cognition is impossible without emotion.
Cognition is responsible for thinking, language, and decision-making, while emotions drive human motivation, feelings, and behavior. According to Coursaris and Van Osch, who refer to the cognitive-affective theory, the emotional features of information are capable of triggering different cognitive processes. Indeed, when proposed with website designs of different colors, people’s decision-making as to booking a place was significantly influenced by the emotional context behind the design. Similarly, the interdependence between cognition and emotion, which proves that cognition is impossible without emotion, is the cognitive theory of emotion.
According to this theory, emotions predetermine the existence of cognition, which is particularly observed in the perception of the words that have emotional coloring, like sadness, happiness, and others. Moreover, as claimed by Winkielman et al., cognitive processes occur in close relationship with the emotional neurobiological processes, which indicates their interdependence. For example, when “perceiving an entity, such as a member of one’s family, information is initially encoded in the brain’s modality systems, such as the visual, auditory, and probably affective systems.” Thus, cognitive processes depend on emotional ones, thus constructing a strong system, where cognition is impossible without emotion.
In conclusion, the debate around the issues of separate or related nature of cognition and emotion has been long discussed in psychological science. The latest findings demonstrate that these two processes are based on similar neurobiological patterns and rely on each other when forming behavioral responses or influencing decision-making. The idea that cognition is not possible without emotion might be supported by the cognitive theory of emotion and the cognitive-affective theory.