According to LeDoux’s model (1996) we have specialized pathways for processing emotional cues. Pourtois, Schettino and Vuilleumier (2013) offer a neural model of how emotional signals capture attention. In their model, amygdala is not only able to respond to relevant cues, it also have a role in orienting attention towards emotional stimuli (with the assistance of other brain areas).

In other words, human beings don’t attend emotional stimuli in the same way they attend other objects.

Are there any experimental data explaining how this preference for emotional stimuli develops from infancy to childhood?

My reference: Pourtois et al 2013 "Brain mechanisms for emotional influences on perception and attention: what is magic and what is not."

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    Great q that would better be served in CogSci – DoctorWhom Jan 10 '18 at 16:14
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    @DoctorWhom I asked some cogsci mods if this would be on topic there. If it is, I will migrate it. – JohnP Jan 10 '18 at 20:07

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