The Social Consequences of Expressive Suppression

Article · April 2003with3,443 Reads
DOI: 10.1037/1528-3542.3.1.48 · Source: PubMed
At times, people keep their emotions from showing during social interactions. The authors' analysis suggests that such expressive suppression should disrupt communication and increase stress levels. To test this hypothesis, the authors conducted 2 studies in which unacquainted pairs of women discussed an upsetting topic. In Study 1, one member of each pair was randomly assigned to (a) suppress her emotional behavior, (b) respond naturally, or (c) cognitively reappraise in a way that reduced emotional responding. Suppression alone disrupted communication and magnified blood pressure responses in the suppressors' partners. In Study 2, suppression had a negative impact on the regulators' emotional experience and increased blood pressure in both regulators and their partners. Suppression also reduced rapport and inhibited relationship formation.
    • Previous studies have shown that conscious awareness allows participants to process information more flexibly and to resist the congruent reaction induced by priming stimuli that results in overcompensation or contrast effects[64,65]. Interestingly, deliberate emotion regulation is associated with increased cardiovascular activity[66,67]. Moreover, misattribution bias is predicted by amygdala activity when people are unaware of the emotional induction and it instead reduced when participants consciously engaged in emotion regulation processes[42].
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Members of highly social species decode, interpret, and react to the emotion of a conspecific depending on whether the other belongs to the same (ingroup) or different (outgroup) social group. While studies indicate that consciously perceived emotional stimuli drive social categorization, information about how implicit emotional stimuli and specific physiological signatures affect social categorization is lacking. We addressed this issue by exploring whether subliminal and supraliminal affective priming can influence the categorization of neutral faces as ingroup vs. outgroup. Functional Infrared Thermal Imaging was used to investigate whether the effect of affective priming on the categorization decision was moderated by the activation of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS). During the subliminal condition, we found that stronger SNS activation after positive or negative affective primes induced ingroup and outgroup face categorization, respectively. The exact opposite pattern (i.e. outgroup after positive, ingroup after negative primes) was observed in the supraliminal condition. We also found that misattribution effects were stronger in people with low emotional awareness, suggesting that this trait moderates how one recognizes SNS signals and employs them for unrelated decisions. Our results carry out the remarkable implication that low-level affective reactions coupled with sympathetic activation may bias social categorization.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2017
    • suppression also influence interpersonal relationships (Butler et al., 2003;Butler, Lee, & Gross, 2007;Gross, 2002). In particular emotion suppression is often associated with negative social outcomes, such as lower social support and reduced relationship closeness.
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Facebook may represent a new avenue through which emerging adults can demonstrate risky sexual behaviour and explore sexual identities with online peers. Emerging adults are in the prime of their sexual lives and the importance of sexuality increases as sexual curiosity peaks (Herbenick, Reece, Schick, Sanders, Dodge & Fortenberry, 2010; Levine, 2013). Hence, there is concern about the effects of social networking sites (SNS) such as Facebook on the development and sexual behaviours of emerging adults in Barbados and England, primarily because emerging adults in both countries are at a heightened risk for contracting sexually transmitted infections (Natsal, 2014; Yearwood, 2007). The purpose of the current research is to statistically investigate the relationship between susceptibility to online peer influence as it relates to sexual risk-taking on Facebook, engagement in casual sex and sex with multiple partners among samples of emerging adults. A cross-national comparative study was conducted using an explanatory sequential mixed methods research design. Surveys and focus groups were conducted in both countries. Weak significant positive relationships were found between emerging adults’ susceptibility to online peer influence and risky sexual behaviour. Seven themes emerged from the qualitative data to explain the quantitative findings in both cultural contexts. The developmental needs of Barbadian and British emerging adults in the study are similar and the findings indicate that though potentially dangerous, sexually risqué online behaviours are in accord with the psychosocial challenges confronting this demographic.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2017 · Frontiers in Psychology
    • Moreover, collectivism implies a restraint in emotional expression, rather than open and direct expression of personal feelings, as a means of ensuring in-group harmony (Butler, Lee, & Gross, 2007; Matsumoto, 2006). Emotional suppression has been associated with negative mental health consequences (Butler et al., 2003; Gross & John, 2003; Hu, Zhang, & Wang, 2014), however, these consequences may be moderated by cultural values. Thus, suppression is associated with elevated levels of negative affective consequences in European-Americans (Gross, 1998; Gross & Levenson, 1997; Hofmann, Heering, Sawyer, & Asnaani, 2009 ), but better consequences in East Asians (Butler et al., 2007; Mauss & Butler, 2010; Soto, Perez, Kim, Lee, & Minnick, 2011; Yuan, Liu, Ding, & Yang, 2014).
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Some studies show that effects of risk factors for depression, such as neuroticism, stress, and maladaptive emotion regulation, are less pronounced in collectivistic Eastern than in individualistic Western cultures. The effect of individual patterns of endorsement of individualist and collectivist attitudes on mental health outcomes is more difficult to predict in diverse cultures, such as Russia, which traditionally combines Western and Eastern values. In this study, data on depressive symptoms, personality, stress level, emotion regulation strategies, and individualist/collectivist orientation were collected in a nonclinical Russian sample and structural equation modeling was used to assess the impact of cultural attitudes on the association between depression and the vulnerability factors. In sharp contrast with effects reported in collectivist East Asian cultures, collectivistic orientation appeared to increase the impact of stress and neuroticism on depression. This evidence highlights the necessity of a more nuanced approach to the study of cultural dimensions, such as individualism/collectivism, taking into account substantial between-culture differences in the nature of these constructs.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2017
    • Anomalies in emotion expression also have social and affective consequences, with incongruent emotion expression increasing the desire for greater social distance and negative social evaluation by the recipient (Brown et al., 2015;Szczurek et al., 2012). Similarly, expressive suppression has been found to increase the suppressors' blood pressure, subjective anxiety, and social isolation (Butler et al., 2003;Gross, 2002). Anomalies in social-emotional functioning are important transdiagnostic features in several psychiatric disorders (Bora and Berk, 2016;Bora and Köse, 2016;Chung et al., 2014;Davies et al., 2016;Henry et al., 2014;Kring and Moran, 2008).
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Accurate interpretation and appropriate expression of emotions are key aspects of social-cognition. Several mental disorders are characterised by transdiagnostic difficulties in these areas and, recently, there has been increasing interest in exploring the effects of oxytocin on social-emotional functioning. This review consists of 33 studies. Fifteen of the studies included people with autism spectrum disorder, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, frontotemporal dementia, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and opioid and alcohol dependence. We conducted ten meta-analyses examining the effects of intranasal oxytocin on expression of emotions, emotional theory of mind, sensitivity to recognise basic emotions, and recognition of basic emotions. A single dose of intranasal oxytocin significantly improved the recognition of basic emotions, particularly fear, and increased the expression of positive emotions among the healthy individuals. Oxytocin did not significantly influence theory of mind or the expression of negative emotions among the healthy individuals. Finally, intranasal oxytocin did not significantly influence interpretation or expression of emotions among the clinical populations.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2017
    • However, we would point out that our effects held even after controlling for self-deception and we did not always find effects that are consistent with peoples' beliefs (e.g. evidence suggests that people believe that suppression is a useful emotion regulation technique, despite evidence that it causes objective increases in physiological responding and stress; Butler et al., 2003; Gross & Levenson, 1993 ). We similarly found that use of suppression was associated with adverse self-reported emotional outcomes.
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Situation selection involves choosing situations based on their likely emotional impact and may be less cognitively taxing or challenging to implement compared to other strategies for regulating emotion, which require people to regulate their emotions "in the moment"; we thus predicted that individuals who chronically experience intense emotions or who are not particularly competent at employing other emotion regulation strategies would be especially likely to benefit from situation selection. Consistent with this idea, we found that the use of situation selection interacted with individual differences in emotional reactivity and competence at emotion regulation to predict emotional outcomes in both a correlational (Study 1; N = 301) and an experimental field study (Study 2; N = 125). Taken together, the findings suggest that situation selection is an effective strategy for regulating emotions, especially for individuals who otherwise struggle to do so.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2017
    • Because cross-cultural studies have suggested the many of suppression's emotional outcomes may be moderated by cultural values (Butler et al., 2007;Soto et al., 2011). For western subjects, their habitual use of suppression is associated with a range of negative outcomes, such as higher levels of negative affect, lower levels of positive affect, worse interpersonal functioning and decreased well-being (Butler et al., 2003;Gross and John, 2003;John and Gross, 2004). On the contrary, our findings suggested that Chinese individuals' habitual use of expressive suppression may be associated with positive emotion regulation outcomes.
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Though the spontaneous emotion regulation has received long discussions, few studies have explored the regulatory effects of spontaneous expressive suppression in neural activations, especially in collectivistic cultural context. The functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study aimed to examine whether individual differences in the tendency to use suppression are correlated with amygdala responses to negative situations when individuals are unconsciously primed with expressive suppression. Twenty-three healthy Chinese undergraduates completed an fMRI paradigm involving fear processing, and a synonym matching task was added to prime participants with the unconscious (automatic) expressive suppression goal. Participants completed measures of typical emotion regulation use (reappraisal and suppression), trait anxiety, and neuroticism. Results indicated that only in emotion suppression prime condition, greater use of suppression in everyday life was related to decreased amygdala activity. These associations were not attributable to variation in trait anxiety, neuroticism, or the habitual use of reappraisal. These findings suggest that in collectivistic cultural settings, individual differences in expressive suppression do not alter fear-related neural activation during suppression-irrelevant context. However, unconscious suppression priming facilitates the manifestation of individual differences in the neural consequence of expressive suppression, as reflected by the priming-specific decrease of emotional subcortical activations with more use of expressive suppression.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2017
Show more
Although exposure therapy has for decades been acklnowledged as one of the biggest success stories in mental health, its mechanisms are still not fully understood and its long-term outcome is under…" [more]
1. To improve the treatment of Panic Disorder by understanding its antecedents and consequences 2. To contribute to effective prevention strategies for Panic Disorder
Investigation of the circadian clocks in single cells and in humans. For more details, see
September 2013 · Journal of Personality and Social Psychology · Impact Factor: 5.08
    Many theories of moral behavior assume that unethical behavior triggers negative affect. In this article, we challenge this assumption and demonstrate that unethical behavior can trigger positive affect, which we term a "cheater's high." Across 6 studies, we find that even though individuals predict they will feel guilty and have increased levels of negative affect after engaging in unethical... [Show full abstract]
    December 2013 · Research in Organizational Behavior · Impact Factor: 2.06
      This chapter focuses on the social nature of morality. Using the metaphor of the moral compass to describe individuals’ inner sense of right and wrong, we offer a framework that identifies social reasons why our moral compasses can come under others’ control, leading even good people to cross ethical boundaries. Departing from prior work on how individuals’ cognitive limitations explain... [Show full abstract]
      January 2014 · SSRN Electronic Journal
        When entering task performance contexts we generally have expectations about both the task and how well we will perform on it. When those expectations go unmet, we experience psychological discomfort (cognitive dissonance), which we are then motivated to resolve. Prior research on expectancy disconfirmation in task performance contexts has focused on the dysfunctional consequences of... [Show full abstract]
        January 2013 · SSRN Electronic Journal
          This paper combines experimental and field data to examine how those with the responsibility to enforce rules may penalize transgressors more harshly when they are faced with a conflicting motivation to be lenient. Specifically, we test how transgressors are punished when it is their birthday: a day when social norms dictate people should be treated preferentially. We first establish that... [Show full abstract]
          Discover more