All in the Mind's Eye? Anger Rumination and Reappraisal

Department of Psychology, Stanford University, CA 94305, USA.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Impact Factor: 5.08). 02/2008; 94(1):133-45. DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.94.1.133
Source: PubMed


Research on rumination has demonstrated that compared with distraction, rumination intensifies and prolongs negative emotion. However, rumination and distraction differ both in what one thinks about and how one thinks about it. Do the negative outcomes of rumination result from how people think about negative events or simply that they think about them at all? To address this question, participants in 2 studies recalled a recent anger-provoking event and then thought about it in 1 of 2 ways: by ruminating or by reappraising. The authors examined the impact of these strategies on subsequent ratings of anger experience (Study 1) as well as on perseverative thinking and physiological responding over time (Study 2). Relative to reappraisal, rumination led to greater anger experience, more cognitive perseveration, and greater sympathetic nervous system activation. These findings provide compelling new evidence that how one thinks about an emotional event can shape the emotional response one has.

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    • "On a related note, although behavioral research suggests a significant role for rumination in maintaining angry mood states (Ray et al., 2008), we found no evidence of a significant link between greater levels of currently experienced anger and aMPFC-FPC coupling. Like sadness, it may be that exposure to emotionally charged situations is necessary to trigger the ruminative processing, supported by the DMN, which has been linked to angry mood episodes. "
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    ABSTRACT: Current evidence suggests that two spatially distinct neuroanatomical networks, the dorsal attention network (DAN) and the default mode network (DMN), support externally and internally oriented cognition, respectively, and are functionally regulated by a third, frontoparietal control network (FPC). Interactions among these networks contribute to normal variations in cognitive functioning and to the aberrant affective profiles present in certain clinical conditions, such as major depression. Nevertheless, their links to non-clinical variations in affective functioning are still poorly understood. To address this issue, we used fMRI to measure the intrinsic functional interactions among these networks in a sample of predominantly younger women (N=162) from the Human Connectome Project. Consistent with the previously documented dichotomous motivational orientations (i.e., withdrawal versus approach) associated with sadness versus anger, we hypothesized that greater sadness would predict greater DMN (rather than DAN) functional dominance, whereas greater anger would predict the opposite. Overall, there was evidence of greater DAN (rather than DMN) functional dominance, but this pattern was modulated by current experience of specific negative emotions, as well as subclinical depressive and anxiety symptoms. Thus, greater levels of currently experienced sadness and subclinical depression independently predicted weaker DAN functional dominance (i.e., weaker DAN-FPC functional connectivity), likely reflecting reduced goal-directed attention towards the external perceptual environment. Complementarily, greater levels of currently experienced anger and subclinical anxiety predicted greater DAN functional dominance (i.e., greater DAN-FPC functional connectivity and, for anxiety only, also weaker DMN-FPC coupling). Our findings suggest that distinct affective states and subclinical mood symptoms have dissociable neural signatures, reflective of the symbiotic relationship between cognitive processes and emotional states. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.
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    • "Participants in the reappraisal condition were asked to " think about [the event] from a different perspective from the one you used earlier. For example, you might try to see this event from the perspective of an impartial observer " (Ray et al., 2008). Finally, the uninstructed condition participants were asked to think about the event with no further instructions. "
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    ABSTRACT: This study draws on Finkel and Eckhardt's (2013) I3 framework to examine the interactive effects of 2 emotion regulation strategies-anger rumination (an impellance factor) and reappraisal (an inhibition factor), and alcohol intoxication (a disinhibition factor)-on intimate partner aggression (IPA) perpetration as measured with an analogue aggression task. Participants were 69 couples recruited from a large Midwestern university (total N = 138). Participants' trait rumination and reappraisal were measured by self-report. Participants were randomized individually to an alcohol or placebo condition, then recalled an anger event while using 1 of 3 randomly assigned emotion regulation conditions (rumination, reappraisal, or uninstructed). Following this, participants completed an analogue aggression task involving ostensibly assigning white noise blasts to their partner. Participants in the alcohol condition displayed greater IPA than participants in the placebo condition for provoked IPA, but not unprovoked IPA. Results also revealed interactions such that for those in the alcohol and rumination group, higher trait reappraisal was related to lower unprovoked IPA. For provoked IPA, higher trait rumination was related to greater IPA among those in the alcohol and rumination condition and those in the placebo and uninstructed condition. In general, results were consistent with I3 theory, suggesting that alcohol disinhibits, rumination impels, and trait reappraisal inhibits IPA. The theoretical and clinical implications of these findings are discussed in the context of current knowledge about the influence of alcohol intoxication and emotion regulation strategies on IPA perpetration. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).
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    • "The purpose of the present study was to examine neural activation during cognitive reappraisal in ASD. Cognitive reappraisal is a form of consciously deployed ER that, in nonclinical samples, effectively modulates subjective responses via a reinterpretation of the meaning of emotional challenges (Butler et al. 2006; Ochsner et al. 2002; Ray et al. 2008). Reappraisal encompasses both the down-regulation (i.e., attenuation) of negative emotional responses and the up-regulation (i.e., enhancement) of positive emotional responses (Gross 2013). "
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