On a daily basis, many of us are bombarded by emotionally-charged information such as news headlines, social media posts, and the various facial expressions we encounter that convey potent cues about our surroundings. Negative information is especially attention-grabbing and, therefore, difficult to ignore even when carrying out an unrelated activity, for example, trying to read on a bus while an argument ensues in the background.
This difficulty is due to a limited capacity system — it is not possible to simultaneously process all information that is available, thus, attending to a stimulus (or feature of a stimulus) comes at the cost of neglecting other information. Consequently, when a stimulus is inconsistent with a current goal, there is “competition” for processing resources.
Read more at: Science Trends