Article

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

ABSTRACT 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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