Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Affect Perseverance


Affect Perseverance occurs where an emotional preference continues, even after the thoughts that gave rise to the original emotion are invalidated.
Feelings are often independent of facts and evidence, and once initiated tend to take on a life of their own. Almost by definition, they are not rational.
Affect Perseverance is similar to Belief Perseverance.


Participants in a study by Sherman and Kim learned associations between neutral stimuli, Chinese ideographs and affectively valenced English words. They measured whether participants preferred the ideographs associated with positive English words to the ideographs associated with negative English words. Then they invalidated the cognition by associating new, neutral English words with the same ideographs. Despite this change in cognition, the affective preference persevered.


A woman falls in love with a man because he is kind to her. When he becomes abusive, her affection remains.

So What?

Using it

To get someone emotionally engaged with an item or topic, start with some rational purpose that makes sense to them. Then, when the emotions are established, slowly ignore and remove the rationale. Reinforce the emotion as its own justification.


Pay attention to the rationale behind your feelings. Why do you feel that way towards things? What was the original reason? Is that reason still valid?

Published on ChangingMinds  


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