Pilot Performance – How Emotions affect your Perception


2 minutes to read

Emotions affect how and what we see. Studies in the last fifteen years have revealed that emotions affect perception and in fact, this happens very frequently in our daily routine. What we are gonna see in the next sentences is a study about how changes in our emotions & energy affect our perception. For example, the layout of the physical environment such as steepness of a hill and distance on the ground can be altered by different emotional states.

Bioenergetic Affection

Bioenergetic affection is the transformation of energy in an animal and between an animal and its environment. Research has shown that people integrate bioenergetic changes in their perception about the spatial layout. Hills appear steeper and distance are seem bigger when metabolic energy is low. Also, people participated in the research, rated distances as bigger and again hills steeper when they were fatigued.

Fatigue alters your energy as a human being. This might help you when planning a local flight. Fatigue alters your estimation about heights and distances. Sure new technologies help you on overcoming calculations, but tablets and Nav apps are not always present.

”Emotions are made to interrupt and reorder the processing priorities in human brain” Herbert Simon

Let’s see exactly what happened to individuals on the research about bio-energetic changes on human organism:

Recent research has directly assessed the role of bioenergetics in perceptions of the spatial layout by manipulating blood glucose levels. Glucose is the primary source of energy for immediate muscular action, and the sole source of energy for the brain. Some participants were given a beverage sweetened with glucose, while others received a beverage with artificial sweetener.

The results indicated that a mentally taxing task shown to deplete blood glucose made a hill look especially steep for those given only an artificially sweetened drink, whereas an energy-rich, glucose-sweetened drink yielded perceptions of the slant that were not so exaggerated. A second experiment replicated these results, adding measures of individual differences on a host of bio-energetically relevant properties.

Thus, in addition to the effects of experimentally-induced variations in glucose, participants reporting fatigue, poor sleep quality, stress, and negative mood also perceived hills to be steeper. Across both glucose-manipulation groups, individuals with characteristics associated with a reduced energy state perceived the hill as steeper. These findings have recently been replicated for distances as well.

Emotions and motivation, are both highly connected to preparation of our visual system to detect aspects of the environment, making them easier to track.



  • US National Library of Medicine
  • National Institutes of Health
  • Jonathan R. Zadra, Gerald L. Clore  ”Emotion and Perception: The Role of Affective Information”