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Uninstructed emotion regulation choice in four studies of cognitive reappraisal

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Abstract

In emotion regulation (ER) research, participants are often trained to use specific strategies in response to emotionally evocative stimuli. Yet theoretical models suggest that people vary significantly in strategy use in everyday life. Which specific strategies people choose to use, and how many, may partially depend on contextual factors like the emotional intensity of the situation. It is thus possible – even likely – that participants spontaneously use uninstructed ER strategies in the laboratory, and that these uninstructed choices may depend on contextual factors like emotional intensity. We report data from four studies in which participants were instructed to use cognitive reappraisal to regulate their emotions in response to pictures, the emotional intensity of which varied across studies. After the picture trials, participants described which and how many strategies they used by way of open-ended responses. Results indicated that while a substantial proportion of participants in all studies described strategies consistent with cognitive reappraisal, a substantial proportion also endorsed uninstructed strategies. Importantly, they did so more often in the context of studies in which they viewed higher-intensity pictures. These findings underscore the importance of considering uninstructed ER choice in instructed paradigms and situational context in all studies of ER.

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... From fears of monsters under our beds to remembering the 'good times' while dealing with the death of a loved one, mental imagery is central to the cognitive control of emotion (Muris et al. 2003;Holmes and Mathews 2005;Opitz et al. 2015). Modern frameworks for conceptualizing the cognitive control of emotion -specifically emotion generation and emotion regulation -have similarly suggested the importance of mental imagery. ...
... Gross (2011) suggests a process model in which internal situations (e.g., imagined objects or situations), in addition to external ones, can produce an emotional response. Likewise, mental imagery has been discussed as a potential factor in both distraction and reappraisal strategies for regulating emotions (Ochsner et al., 2012;Opitz et al., 2015). ...
... While the emotion regulation manipulation used in the present study is best considered a form of distraction, some forms of cognitive reappraisal rely on facets of mental imagery (Opitz et al. 2015). For example, when reappraisal involves imagining novel aspects to a scene it may operate via mechanisms of mental imagery and biased-competition along the occipitotemporal pathways. ...
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Mental imagery is an important tool in the cognitive control of emotion. The present study tests the prediction that visual imagery can generate and regulate differential fear conditioning via the activation and prioritization of stimulus representations in early visual cortices. We combined differential fear conditioning with manipulations of viewing and imagining basic visual stimuli in humans. We discovered that mental imagery of a fear-conditioned stimulus compared to imagery of a safe conditioned stimulus generated a significantly greater conditioned response as measured by self-reported fear, the skin conductance response, and right anterior insula activity (experiment 1). Moreover, mental imagery effectively down- and up-regulated the fear conditioned responses (experiment 2). Multivariate classification using the functional magnetic resonance imaging data from retinotopically defined early visual regions revealed significant decoding of the imagined stimuli in V2 and V3 (experiment 1) but significantly reduced decoding in these regions during imagery-based regulation (experiment 2).
... Despite the importance of ER flexibility for adaptive functioning (see Bonanno & Burton, 2013, for a review), the conditions under which individuals switch from one strategy to another are not yet clear, especially in childhood. Adults tend to favor emotional disengagement strategies such as distraction (e.g., reallocating attention) over resource-intensive strategies such as reappraisal (e.g., reframing the meaning of a situation) and are more likely to choose or switch to a disengagement strategy when felt negative emotion is more intense (Opitz, Cavanagh, & Urry, 2015;Sheppes & Meiran, 2008). Thus, felt negative emotion may prompt specific strategy preferences and flexible strategy use. ...
... Thus, felt negative emotion may prompt specific strategy preferences and flexible strategy use. Indeed, emotional intensity is linked to whether adults report that they deployed a strategy they were experimentally instructed to use or switched to a different one ( Opitz et al., 2015;Sheppes & Meiran, 2008). ...
... Investigations of ER strategies that adults describe using often focus on assessing either uninstructed or instructed ER strategies but not both. Uninstructed ER strategy use reflects participant reports of strategy deployment without having been given direct instructions to implement a particular strategy or to regulate emotion at all; thus, these can be implicit, automatic, or spontaneously adopted strategies (e.g., Aldao, 2013;Opitz et al., 2015). In addition, prior work has conceptualized uninstructed ER strategy use as including the strategies adults report using even when they have been trained (and instructed) to use another particular strategy ( Opitz et al., 2015). ...
... When adults are given specific ER strategy instructions, they often draw from their own ER knowledge and report deploying other strategies in addition to the instructed one (Demaree, Robinson, Pu, & Allen, 2006;Opitz, Cavanagh, & Urry, 2015). Yet, the mnemonic consequences of the strategies people report using have not been considered in tandem with the effects of experimentally instructed strategies in prior research. ...
... Several studies have shown that despite receiving experimental instructions to use a particular ER strategy during an emotion evocation, adults typically report in later interviews that they deployed their own strategies as well (Demaree et al., 2006;Opitz et al., 2015). This indicates that previous studies may have inadvertently overlooked differences in how instructed versus reported ER strategies carry consequences for memory. ...
... This indicates that previous studies may have inadvertently overlooked differences in how instructed versus reported ER strategies carry consequences for memory. Assessing memory outcomes based on the implementation of instructed strategies reflects the impact of explicit ER strategy use, which is deliberate, effortful and conscious (Gyurak, Gross, & Etkin, 2011;Opitz et al., 2015). Regardless of whether participants receive extensive strategy training, this approach presumes that participants all have a similar ability to effectively implement the specific strategy in the given context, when told to do so. ...
Article
Distraction can reduce adults’ memory for emotion-eliciting information, whereas reappraisal can preserve or enhance it. Yet, when given instructions to use specific emotion regulation (ER) strategies, adults report using other strategies too. The consequences of non-instructed strategy use within instructed ER paradigms are rarely examined. We investigated how both instructed and non-instructed but reported strategies related to memory for emotional information in childhood. Older (N = 69; 8- to 10-year-olds; 24 girls) and younger (N = 65; 5- to 7-year-olds; 35 girls) children received instructions to use cognitive distraction, reappraisal, or do nothing (control) before and after viewing a negative emotional film clip. Children were later interviewed about what they remembered about the film, and reported the ER strategies they used during it. Memory did not vary across instructed ER strategy conditions, and reported strategies did not relate to memory differently for older and younger children. Consistent with adult work, reported cognitive distraction related to poorer memory. Different reappraisal types were reported, but only situation-focused reappraisal was linked to better memory. In sum, children’s reported cognitive distraction and reappraisal strategies related to memory for emotional information differently. Thus, ER strategies divergently relate to what children remember about their emotional experiences.
... Such an approach assumes that when instructed to use a particular emotion regulation strategy, individuals rely exclusively on that strategy. Recent evidence suggests, however, that individuals often spontaneously use multiple strategies even in the context of explicit instructions to use a single strategy (Aldao and Nolen-Hoeksema 2013;Ehring et al. 2010;Optiz et al. 2015). For instance, Optiz et al. (2015) examined four studies in which participants were instructed to use cognitive reappraisal in response to emotional pictures, and found that approximately one quarter to one half of participants used a different emotion regulation strategy, either in addition to or instead of cognitive reappraisal. ...
... Recent evidence suggests, however, that individuals often spontaneously use multiple strategies even in the context of explicit instructions to use a single strategy (Aldao and Nolen-Hoeksema 2013;Ehring et al. 2010;Optiz et al. 2015). For instance, Optiz et al. (2015) examined four studies in which participants were instructed to use cognitive reappraisal in response to emotional pictures, and found that approximately one quarter to one half of participants used a different emotion regulation strategy, either in addition to or instead of cognitive reappraisal. ...
... This pattern has been demonstrated in response to different types of emotional stimuli (e.g., negative pictures, electric shock; Sheppes et al. 2011), and has even been shown to hold when participants are offered monetary incentives to use the less preferred strategy . Furthermore, the preference for non-reappraisal strategies has also been found when participants provide open-ended responses about the way they regulate emotions following cognitive reappraisal instructions (Optiz et al. 2015). Importantly, the decreased likelihood of reappraisal in high-intensity contexts appears to result from the amount of regulatory effort required by such a strategy (Sheppes and Levin 2013). ...
Article
The present study investigated spontaneous emotion regulation use in response to emotional stimuli of different valence and intensity. Participants (n = 127) rated their affect and the extent to which they used particular emotion regulation strategies in response to high- and low-intensity pictures eliciting disgust. Findings suggest that people spontaneously use multiple emotion regulation strategies in high and low emotional contexts. Acceptance and detached reappraisal were the most commonly used strategies in all negative contexts, while suppression was the least used strategy. Implications for future work are discussed.
... A recent study showed that a significant proportion of participants stated using emotion regulation strategies other than the one they were explicitly instructed to use, particularly when the emotional stimuli were highly arousing (Opitz, Cavanagh, & Urry, 2015). By checking that the participants paid attention to the content of the films clips (using the post-film questionnaire), we minimized potential interference by attentional deployment, a strategy that is frequently used by older adults (Isaacowitz, 2012;Isaacowitz, Toner, Goren, & Wilson, 2008). ...
... However, this check does not rule out potential interference by other strategies favored by older adults, such as positive reappraisal (Charles & Carstensen, 2008;Lohani & Isaacowitz, 2014;Shiota & Levenson, 2009). This limitation should be taken into account in further studies, for example by asking the participants to state whether they have knowingly used strategies other than the one they were asked to use during the task (Opitz et al., 2015). ...
Article
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Background/Study Context: To explain the high levels of well-being reported by older adults, socioemotional selectivity theory suggests that emotion regulation becomes more automated with age. Hence, the objective of the present study was to determine whether automatic emotion regulation becomes indeed more efficient with age, as controlled regulation becomes less efficient. We tested this hypothesis with regard to a specific emotion regulation strategy, expressive suppression, and a discrete emotion: disgust. Methods: Disgusting videos were presented to 74 young adults (mean (SD) age: 20.1 (1.8)) and 52 older adults (mean (SD) age: 73.6 (9.3)), randomly assigned to one of three conditions: the control condition, the implicit condition (assessing automatic suppression), and the explicit condition (assessing controlled suppression). The disgust expressed and the disgust felt were analyzed separately with factorial analyses of variance that included age group and regulation condition as between-subject variables. Results: Our results suggest that automatic and controlled expressive suppression may both be altered in healthy aging. Relative to young adults, older adults do not suppress their facial expressions as much but report feeling less disgust. Conclusion: Expressive suppression may not become more automated with age. However, the older adults’ ability to suppress facial expressions did not appear to be directly associated with the intensity of their emotions.
... Compared with reappraisal, participants were more likely to attempt the mindfulness intervention, which might have implications for realistic spontaneous usage in the future. This aligns with prior work showing that participants assigned to use reappraisal strategies during laboratory studies frequently report using different, uninstructed strategies (e.g., distraction, suppression; Opitz et al., 2015;Parsafar et al., 2019). Noncompliance to reappraisal is more likely when managing reactions to highly intense or distressing experiences (Opitz et al., 2015). ...
... This aligns with prior work showing that participants assigned to use reappraisal strategies during laboratory studies frequently report using different, uninstructed strategies (e.g., distraction, suppression; Opitz et al., 2015;Parsafar et al., 2019). Noncompliance to reappraisal is more likely when managing reactions to highly intense or distressing experiences (Opitz et al., 2015). Nonetheless, students in our study endorsed both stress regulation approaches equally, and using an instrumental variable analysis, we did not find evidence that noncompliance changed the effect of the interventions on perceived strategy efficacy nor on engagement during and learning from the lesson. ...
Article
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Undergraduates’ distress has increased dramatically since the COVID-19 pandemic’s onset, raising concerns for academic achievement. Yet little is known about the mechanisms by which pandemic-related distress may affect students’ learning and performance, and consequently, how we might intervene to promote student achievement despite the continuing crisis. Across two studies with nearly 700 undergraduates, we highlight the mediating role of distraction: undergraduates higher in COVID-19 distress saw lower learning gains from an asynchronous neuroscience lesson due to increased mind wandering during the lesson. We replicate and extend this finding in Study 2: probing what pandemic-related stressors worried students and revealing systematic differences among students of marginalized identities, with largest impacts on first-generation, Latinx women. We also examined whether stress reappraisal or mindfulness practices may mitigate the observed distress-to-distraction pathway. Only mindfulness reduced mind wandering, though this did not translate to learning. We conclude with implications for practice and future research.
... In this case, it can be expected that in a state of sleep deprivation, non-cognitive strategies such as expressive suppression would be used more often. A study by Opitz, Cavanagh, and Urry (2015) indicates that non-cognitive strategies are used in situations when the use of cognitive strategies is not possible. They have shown that the more intense a negative emotional stimulus is, the more often participants apply non-cognitive emotion regulation strategies instead of reappraisal (Opitz et al., 2015). ...
... A study by Opitz, Cavanagh, and Urry (2015) indicates that non-cognitive strategies are used in situations when the use of cognitive strategies is not possible. They have shown that the more intense a negative emotional stimulus is, the more often participants apply non-cognitive emotion regulation strategies instead of reappraisal (Opitz et al., 2015). It is hypothesized that the more intense an emotional stimulus is, the more cognitive effort is necessary to apply a cognitive emotion regulation strategy (Sheppes & Gross, 2012). ...
Article
Background and Objectives. Insomnia is a very common symptom in patients with psychosis. The precise relationship between insomnia and psychotic symptoms such as paranoid ideation is not clear, although they seem to be linked by negative emotions. The present study tested the hypothesis that impaired emotion regulation mediates the relationship between insomnia and paranoid ideation. Methods. The hypothesis was tested in patients with psychosis (N = 47), relatives of patients with psychosis (N = 23), and healthy controls (N = 267). The sample was assessed online using the Emotion Regulation Questionnaire, the Insomnia Severity Index, and the Paranoia Checklist. Results. The effect of insomnia on paranoid ideation was partially mediated by frequent use of the generally maladaptive emotion regulation strategy of expressive suppression and infrequent use of the generally adaptive strategy of reappraisal. Limitations. The study had a cross-sectional design, which limited the causal conclusions. A longitudinal study would be desirable to examine this topic. Furthermore, the study was an online assessment, so the diagnosis could not be validated by a clinical interview. Conclusion. The findings suggest that the effect of insomnia on paranoid ideation is partially mediated by impaired emotion regulation. These findings could have important implications for the cognitive behavioral therapy of psychosis.
... Empirical findings. The few studies that have captured polyregulation to date have found that its frequency varies widely-occurring between 7% and 98% of the time, depending on the study context-suggesting there may be key contextual factors that influence the use of polyregulation (e.g., Opitz, Cavanagh, & Urry, 2015). While many factors could promote or inhibit polyregulation, several studies have converged on a similar pattern regarding one particular factor: people are more likely to use polyregulation during more (vs. ...
... In standardized laboratory contexts, participants were more likely to report using multiple emotion regulation strategies when confronted with more (vs. less) intense emotional stimuli (Opitz et al., 2015), or when they subjectively experienced higher (vs. lower) levels of negative emotion in response to the same stimuli (Wolgast, Lundh, & Viborg, 2011). ...
Article
The field of emotion regulation has developed rapidly, and a number of emotion regulatory strategies have been identified. To date, empirical attention has focused on contrasting specific regulation strategies to determine their unique profile of consequences. However, it is becoming clear that people commonly pursue multiple regulation approaches within any given emotional episode (e.g., pursuing different regulation goals, strategies, or tactics). We refer to the concurrent or sequential use of multiple approaches to regulate emotions within a single emotion episode as polyregulation. Here, we extend existing theoretical frameworks of emotion regulation to consider polyregulation. We then pose several core questions to summarize and inspire research on polyregulation, thereby improving our understanding of emotion regulation as it unfolds in everyday life.
... To align to the strategies measured with the ERQ and heavily associated with the STAI, the current study limited its focus to reappraisal and suppression. However, individuals may regulate in numerous ways [65]. The current study's analyses therefore do not speak to how much participants' natural regulation profiles do or do not resemble other regulation strategies. ...
... These findings highlight the need for personalized treatment paradigms and introduce a potential platform for detecting individuals that may respond to different styles of emotion-regulation interventions. In addition, these findings suggest that how individuals report regulating in the real world does not map on to how they regulate in the laboratory [65]. Taken together, this underscores the importance of developing emotion-regulation interventions and paradigms that more closely align to and predict real-world outcomes. ...
Article
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Anxiety influences how individuals experience and regulate emotions in a variety of ways. For example, individuals with lower anxiety tend to cognitively reframe (reappraise) negative emotion and those with higher anxiety tend to suppress negative emotion. Research has also investigated these individual differences with psychophysiology. These lines of research assume coherence between how individuals regulate outside the laboratory, typically measured with self-report, and how they regulate during an experiment. Indeed, performance during experiments is interpreted as an indication of future behavior outside the laboratory, yet this relationship is seldom directly explored. To address this gap, we computed psychophysiological profiles of uninstructed (natural) regulation in the laboratory and explored the coherence between these profiles and a) self-reported anxiety and b) self-reported regulation tendency. Participants viewed negative images and were instructed to reappraise, suppress or naturally engage. Electrodermal and facial electromyography signals were recorded to compute a multivariate psychophysiological profile of regulation. Participants with lower anxiety exhibited similar profiles when naturally regulating and following instructions to reappraise, suggesting they naturally reappraised more. Participants with higher anxiety exhibited similar profiles when naturally regulating and following instructions to suppress, suggesting they naturally suppressed more. However, there was no association between self-reported reappraisal or suppression tendency and psychophysiology. These exploratory results indicate that anxiety, but not regulation tendency, predicts how individuals regulate emotion in the laboratory. These findings suggest that how individuals report regulating in the real world does not map on to how they regulate in the laboratory. Taken together, this underscores the importance of developing emotion-regulation interventions and paradigms that more closely align to and predict real-world outcomes.
... They were also given an open-ended response questionnaire, including the 2 items, "What strategies did you use to maintain?" and "What strategies did you use to decrease?" To verify whether participants utilized cognitive reappraisal rather than other emotion regulation strategies, open-ended responses were coded according to Opitz et al. (2015): whether participants utilized (i) cognitive reappraisal; (ii) other emotion regulation strategies such as attentional deployment, response modulation, or imagining the pictures as in some way not real; and (iii) more than one strategy (Opitz et al. 2015). All 3 categories were coded as 1 = Yes and 0 = No, such that the means indicate percentage of participants whose responses indicated their use of the strategy or strategies in question. ...
... They were also given an open-ended response questionnaire, including the 2 items, "What strategies did you use to maintain?" and "What strategies did you use to decrease?" To verify whether participants utilized cognitive reappraisal rather than other emotion regulation strategies, open-ended responses were coded according to Opitz et al. (2015): whether participants utilized (i) cognitive reappraisal; (ii) other emotion regulation strategies such as attentional deployment, response modulation, or imagining the pictures as in some way not real; and (iii) more than one strategy (Opitz et al. 2015). All 3 categories were coded as 1 = Yes and 0 = No, such that the means indicate percentage of participants whose responses indicated their use of the strategy or strategies in question. ...
Article
Caffeine reliably increases emotional arousal, but it is unclear if and how it influences other dimensions of emotion such as emotional valence. These experiments documented whether caffeine influences emotion and emotion regulation choice and success. Low to abstinent caffeine consumers (maximum 100 mg/day) completed measures of state anxiety, positive and negative emotion, and salivary cortisol before, 45 minutes, and 75 minutes after consuming 400 mg caffeine or placebo. Participants also completed an emotion regulation choice task in which they chose to employ cognitive reappraisal or distraction in response to high and low intensity negative pictures (Experiment 1) or a cognitive reappraisal task, in which they employed cognitive reappraisal or no emotion regulation strategy in response to negative and neutral pictures (Experiment 2). State anxiety, negative emotion, and salivary cortisol were heightened both 45 and 75 minutes after caffeine intake relative to placebo. In Experiment 1, caffeine did not influence the frequency with which participants chose reappraisal or distraction, but reduced negativity of the picture ratings. In Experiment 2, caffeine did not influence cognitive reappraisal success. Thus caffeine mitigated emotional responses to negative situations, but not how participants chose to regulate such responses or the success with which they did so.
... To align to the strategies measured with the ERQ and heavily associated with the STAI, the current study limited its focus to reappraisal and suppression. However, individuals may regulate in numerous ways [65]. The current study's analyses therefore do not speak to how much participants' natural regulation profiles do or do not resemble other regulation strategies. ...
... These findings highlight the need for personalized treatment paradigms and introduce a potential platform for detecting individuals that may respond to different styles of emotion-regulation interventions. In addition, these findings suggest that how individuals report regulating in the real world does not map on to how they regulate in the laboratory [65]. Taken together, this underscores the importance of developing emotion-regulation interventions and paradigms that more closely align to and predict real-world outcomes. ...
Preprint
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Individuals with higher anxiety tend to suppress negative emotion and individuals with lower anxiety tend to cognitively reframe (reappraise) negative emotion. However, most research studying these individual differences is based on self-report, but findings are not typically validated with biomarkers such as psychophysiology. We examined how self-reported anxiety and regulation tendency influenced how individuals naturally regulated emotion. Participants viewed negative images and were instructed to reappraise, suppress or naturally engage. Electrodermal and facial electromyography signals were recorded to compute a multivariate psychophysiological profile of how participants naturally regulated. Participants with high anxiety exhibited similar profiles when naturally regulating and following instructions to suppress, suggesting they naturally suppressed more. Participants with low anxiety exhibited similar profiles when naturally regulating and following instructions to reappraise, suggesting they naturally reappraised more. Participants did not report regulating in ways that aligned to their psychophysiology, suggesting that anxiety is a better indicator of regulation style.
... This result suggests that adolescents use both strategies simultaneously when they regulate their emotions. Individuals may use multiple strategies in order to ensure a greater success in the process of ER (Opitz, Cavanagh, & Urry, 2015), even if those strategies are seemingly contradictory to their goals (Brockman et al., 2016). However, the same did not occur at the trait level, as was already found in previous studies with adolescents where results showed these strategies to be independent (Teixeira et al., 2015). ...
Article
A better understanding of emotion regulation (ER) within daily life is a growing focus of research. This study evaluated the average use of two ER strategies (cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression) and concurrent and lagged relationships between these two ER strategies and affect (positive and negative affect) in the daily lives of adolescents. We also investigated the role of the same strategies at the trait level on these within-person relationships. Thirty-three adolescents provided 1,258 reports of their daily life by using the Experience Sampling Method for one week. Regarding the relative use of ER strategies, cognitive reappraisal ( M = 2.87, SD = 1.58) was used more often than expressive suppression ( M = 2.42, SD = 1.21). While the use of both strategies was positively correlated when evaluated in daily life ( p = .01), the same did not occur at the trait level ( p = .37). Multilevel analysis found that ER strategies were concurrently related to affect ( p < .01), with the exception of cognitive reappraisal-positive affect relationship ( p = .11). However, cognitive reappraisal predicted higher positive affect at the subsequent sampling moment ( β = 0.07, p = .03). The concurrent associations between cognitive reappraisal and negative affect vary as function of the use of this strategy at the trait level (β = 0.05, p = .02). Our findings highlighted the complex associations between daily ER strategies and affect of a normative sample of adolescents.
... In Gross (2015), this strategy, along with acceptance, is based on the specific process of identifying the valence of a situation. It was used less for both early and late regulation, probably because it cannot be implemented if the situation is too emotionally intense (McRae, 2016;Opitz, Cavanagh, & Urry, 2015). This supports the idea that individuals try to cope with the intensity of an affect first, then turn their attention to its valence. ...
Article
Very few studies have explored variations in the implementation of affect regulation strategies over time and the impact of anxiety, even though understanding these putative dynamics would serve both clinical and research purposes. We hypothesized that (i) emotion regulation strategies vary in their evocability (i.e., probability of being used), depending on the timing of affect regulation in response to negative events, and (ii) these dynamics are modulated by trait anxiety in nonclinical individuals. Generalized additive mixed models highlighted three waves of affect regulation: avoidance and expressing and maintaining negative affects as openers; positive reappraisal as a midregulation strategy; and acceptance as a late strategy, depending on trait anxiety level. Problem solving was a mid-to-late strategy. Our data did not support any of the social sharing models. Interestingly, acceptance was the only strategy with a temporal pattern that clearly differed between high- and low-anxiety individuals. Our results (i) emphasise that time and anxiety are only partially predictive of affect regulation dynamics, and (ii) highlight the challenges that will have to be overcome in future research, if we are to wholly unravel the functioning of these dynamics in daily life events.
... In this study, we address these gaps by examining undergraduate STEM students' spontaneous use of emotion regulation during studying and exam taking in a required STEM course. Spontaneous emotion regulation involves the unprompted selection and implementation of emotion regulation strategies (Aldao, 2013) and constitutes an important feature of situational emotion regulation decision-making (Opitz et al., 2015). We examine how appraisals of control and value, and emotion regulation strategies, jointly predict students' emotional experiences to gain insight into the processes of emotion generation and regulation in post-secondary STEM degree programs. ...
Article
Full-text available
There to date exists limited research on how emotion regulation shapes students’ emotional experiences and academic development in higher education. The purpose of this study was to address this gap by examining how students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) degree programs (N = 174) use emotion regulation strategies related to their achievement emotions, approaches to learning, and exam performance. Data was collected across four phases pertaining to a required STEM course at the beginning of the semester, while studying for a midterm exam, and within 48 h following the exam. Results suggested that while emotion regulation while studying did not predict students’ emotions more than control and value appraisals, their emotion regulation specific to the exam predicted their emotions above and beyond control and value appraisals. Findings also showed cognitive reappraisal to correspond with more positive emotions, less negative emotions, more complex approaches to learning, and better exam performance. Conversely, suppression was associated with poorer exam performance. Results additionally showed that associations between cognitive reappraisal and emotions were stronger during exams than while studying. Overall, these findings indicate that how post-secondary students choose to regulate their emotions in STEM degree programs has important implications for how they feel, learn, and perform.
... and ''What strategies did you use to decrease?'' Open-ended responses were coded according to Opitz et al. (2015): whether participants utilized: (1) cognitive reappraisal; (2) other emotion regulation strategies such as attentional deployment, response modulation, or imagining the pictures as in some way not real; and (3) more than one strategy. All three categories were coded as 1 = Yes and 0 = No, such that the means indicate percentage of participants whose responses indicated their use of the strategy(s) in question. ...
Article
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Acute exercise consistently benefits both emotion and cognition, particularly cognitive control. We evaluated acute endurance exercise influences on emotion, domain-general cognitive control and the cognitive control of emotion, specifically cognitive reappraisal. Thirty-six endurance runners, defined as running at least 30 miles per week with one weekly run of at least 9 miles (21 female, age 18–30 years) participated. In a repeated measures design, participants walked at 57% age-adjusted maximum heart rate (HRmax; range 51%–63%) and ran at 70% HRmax (range 64%–76%) for 90 min on two separate days. Participants completed measures of emotional state and the Stroop test of domain-general cognitive control before, every 30 min during and 30 min after exercise. Participants also completed a cognitive reappraisal task (CRT) after exercise. Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) tracked changes in oxygenated and deoxygenated hemoglobin (O2Hb and dHb) levels in the prefrontal cortex (PFC). Results suggest that even at relatively moderate intensities, endurance athletes benefit emotionally from running both during and after exercise and task-related PFC oxygenation reductions do not appear to hinder prefrontal-dependent cognitive control.
... In most instances, no manipulation check is used to verify that indeed participants followed the reappraisal instructions. Open-ended descriptions of the strategies used by participants have revealed that a substantial number of participants report using strategies that are different from those they were instructed to use (Opitz, Cavanagh, & Urry, 2015). Thus, a measure that can provide an assessment of what participants do when they are asked to engage in reappraisal in the lab seems imperative. ...
Article
Reappraisal is a multifaceted construct associated with a wide range of proximal (e.g., affective responses) and distal (e.g., psychopathology) consequences. To date, our understanding of use of reappraisal is based either on self-reports of tendencies to use a specific strategy in general or in the last week or on performance on lab-based tasks. There has been little effort to measure use of reappraisal immediately following an emotionally evocative situation (i.e., state-reappraisal). To close this gap, we developed the State-Reappraisal Inventory (SRI) that ascertains use of reappraisal immediately after an emotional event. In Study 1, exploratory factor analyses yielded two reliable subscales measuring state levels of construal of an emotion-eliciting situating as more positive (Increase Positive) and less negative (Decrease Negative). In two further studies, confirmatory factor analyses using a bifactor model provided a good fit for the data and surpassed three competing models. In a fourth study, the SRI showed sensitivity to experimentally induced state changes in reappraisal. Across studies, the questionnaire demonstrated good convergent and discriminant validity. Thus, the SRI is a new measure of state-reappraisal that can allow researchers and clinicians to examine the extent to which individuals use reappraisal in emotional situations.
... Both adolescents and their parents reported a slightly more frequent use of cognitive reappraisal than expressive suppression in their daily lives, as consistently found in previous research using retrospective evaluations (e.g., Bariola et al. 2012;Nezlek and Kuppens 2008). As Opitz et al. (2015) has pointed out, individuals are likely to use strategies which have been effective in their past experiences. ...
Article
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Parents are the main socialization agents in the development of emotion regulation (ER). In this study, we evaluated adolescents’ and their respective parents’ perspectives about their use of two ER strategies (cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression) in daily life. In addition, we evaluated the within-family associations between adolescents’ and their parents’ use of strategies. We controlled for adolescents’ gender and age and the perceived quality of their relationships with their parents (mothers and fathers). The sample consisted of 33 12- to 18-year-old adolescent–father–mother triads, totaling99 participants. Parents and adolescents reported their use of ER strategies in response to eight random prompts throughout the day, by means of the experience sampling method for 1 week. Participants provided 4082 reports on their momentary experiences. The data were analyzed using multilevel modeling to account for the hierarchical structure of the repeated daily assessments. The significant association between parents’ and adolescents’ use of ER strategies was specific to mother–adolescent dyads. The significant association between adolescents’ and their mothers’ ER strategies varied as a function of the adolescents’ age and the quality of their relationship with thei r mothers according to adolescents’ reports, but not as a function of adolescent gender. These findings suggest that mothers have a role in their adolescents’ emotion regulation in a developmental period characterized by autonomy from parental guidance.
... Participants also completed an open-ended response questionnaire, including the two items, "What strategies did you use to maintain?" and "What strategies did you use to decrease?" To verify whether participants utilized cognitive reappraisal rather than other emotion regulation strategies, open-ended responses were coded according to Opitz et al. (2015): whether participants utilized (1) cognitive reappraisal, (2) other emotion regulation strategies such as attentional deployment, response modulation, or imagining the pictures as in some way not real and (3) more than one strategy. All three categories were coded as 1 = Yes and 0 = No, such that the means indicate percentage of participants whose responses indicated their use of the strategy(s) in question. ...
Article
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Habitual exercise is associated with enhanced domain-general cognitive control, such as inhibitory control, selective attention, and working memory, all of which rely on the frontal cortex. However, whether regular exercise is associated with more specific aspects of cognitive control, such as the cognitive control of emotion, remains relatively unexplored. The present study employed a correlational design to determine whether level of habitual exercise was related to performance on the Stroop test measuring selective attention and response inhibition, the cognitive reappraisal task measuring cognitive reappraisal success, and associated changes in prefrontal cortex (PFC) oxygenation using functional near-infrared spectroscopy. 74 individuals (24 men, 50 women, age 18–32 years) participated. Higher habitual physical activity was associated with lower Stroop interference (indicating greater inhibitory control) and enhanced cognitive reappraisal success. Higher habitual exercise was also associated with lower oxygenated hemoglobin (O2Hb) in the PFC in response to emotional information. However, NIRS data indicated that exercise was not associated with cognitive control-associated O2Hb in the PFC. Behaviorally, the findings support and extend the previous findings that habitual exercise relates to more successful cognitive control of neutral information and cognitive reappraisal of emotional information. Future research should explore whether habitual exercise exerts causal benefits to cognitive control and PFC oxygenation, as well as isolate specific cognitive control processes sensitive to change through habitual exercise.
... The ability to control or express their emotions seems important to the quality of life and mental health. Unlike explicit emotion regulation which have to be conducted consciously with consumption of cognitive resources 1 , there is a growing focus on emotion regulation that operates at an implicit level without awareness or explicit instructions, labeled as automatic, unconscious or implicit emotion regulation [2][3][4] . Implicit emotion regulation is defined as goal-driven processes without conscious, deliberate control or awareness 1,5 . ...
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Implicit emotion regulation defined as goal-driven processes modulates emotion experiences and responses automatically without awareness. However, the temporal course of implicit emotion regulation is not clear. To address these issues, we adopted a new Priming-identify task (PI task) to manipulate implicit emotion regulation directly and observed the changes of early (N170), middle (early posterior negativity, EPN), and late event-related potentials (ERPs) components (late positivity potentials, LPP) under the different implicit emotion regulation conditions. The behavioral results indicated that the PI task manipulated subjective emotion experience effectively by priming emotion regulation goals. The ERP results found that implicit emotion regulation induced more negative N170 without altering the EPN and the LPP amplitudes, indicating that implicit emotion regulation occured automatically in the early perceptual stage not in the late selective attention stage of emotion processing. The correlation analysis also found the enlarged N170 was associated with decreased negative emotion subjective rating, suggesting that the N170 was probably an effective index of implicit emotion regulation. These observations imply that implicit emotion regulation probabbly occurs in the early stage of emotion processing automatically without consciousness.
... For example, in one study, participants who failed to reduce negative emotional experiences using cognitive reappraisal turned to avoidance; those who were instructed to use acceptance turned to avoidance less 16 . In addition, in another study, even when instructed to use cognitive reappraisal, participants often used uninstructed ER strategies, particularly in higher-intensity situations 17 . People also switched strategies based on emotional internal feedback, including subjective awareness of emotion and related physiological processes indicating the success or failure of the current ER strategy 18 . ...
Article
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We conducted two within-subjects experiments to determine whether people use alternative emotion regulation (ER) strategies to compensate for failure of situation selection, a form of ER in which one chooses situations based on the emotions those situations afford. Participants viewed negative and neutral (Study 1, N = 58) or negative, neutral, and positive pictures (Study 2, N = 90). They indicated for each picture whether they wanted to terminate presentation (Study 1) or view it again (Study 2). We manipulated the outcome of this decision to be congruent with participants' wishes (success) or not (failure), and measured self-reported ER strategies and emotional responses. Although participants terminated negative situations more often than neutral situations (Study 1), or chose to view positive pictures more frequently than neutral, and neutral more frequently than negative (Study 2), there was little evidence of compensation in the wake of situation selection failure. Overall, we conclude that although people choose situations based on affect (i.e., attempt to end or avoid high-arousal negative situations and pursue high-arousal pleasant ones), they do not generally use the alternative ER strategies that we assessed (rumination, reappraisal, distraction) to compensate when the situations they select fail to materialize in this experimental context.
... To examine this possibility in the laboratory environment, Aldao and Nolen-Hoeksema (2013) identified the number of ER strategies endorsed by participants watching a film clip depicting amputations and reported that the majority of participants (65%) used multiple ER strategies to regulate their disgust. Similarly, in a set of four recent experiments examining uninstructed ER choice (Opitz et al., 2015) approximately 25%, of participants in all but one study reported using multiple ER strategies. These patterns of spontaneous ER use have also been reported outside of the laboratory. ...
Article
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Emotion regulation (ER) has been conceptualized as processes through which individuals modulate their emotions consciously and non-consciously to respond appropriately to environmental demands. Emotions can be regulated in many ways and specific strategies may have differing efficacy across situations and individuals. The importance of flexibility in implementing ER strategies has been highlighted in many current models. In this study, we investigated gender differences in two regulatory processes, context sensitivity and repertoire using a novel coding system for ER strategy classification. The results revealed that women consistently used more strategies than men and were more flexible in the implementation of those strategies. These findings validate our novel coding system for ER strategy classification. They further highlight the importance of a comprehensive examination of gender differences in ER processes for understanding the nuances of ER and developing effective treatments for psychopathologies characterized by ER deficits.
... Several researchers pointed out that individuals' typical reappraisal use in daily life cannot be equated with their actual capacity to use this strategy when confronted with adverse scenarios, given the absence of or only weak correlations between the two (McRae et al., 2008;Troy et al., 2010;Weber et al., 2014). However, despite numerous appeals for more objective performance measures of individuals' actual emotion regulation capacity (Demaree et al., 2006;McRae et al., 2008;Whittle et al., 2011;Opitz et al., 2015), few efforts have been made in that direction. Thus, assumptions that men and women may differ in their basic capacity for cognitive reappraisal remain rather speculative to date. ...
Article
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Despite major research interest regarding gender differences in emotion regulation, it is still not clear whether men and women differ in their basic capacity to implement specific emotion regulation strategies, as opposed to indications of the habitual use of these strategies in self-reports. Similarly, little is known on how such basic capacities relate to indices of well-being in both sexes. This study took a novel approach by investigating gender differences in the capacity for generating cognitive reappraisals in adverse situations in a sample of 67 female and 59 male students, using a maximum performance test of the inventiveness in generating reappraisals. Participants' self-perceived efficacy in emotion regulation was additionally assessed. Analyses showed that men and women did not differ in their basic capacity to generate alternative appraisals for anxiety-eliciting scenarios, suggesting similar functional cognitive mechanisms in the implementation of this strategy. Yet, higher cognitive reappraisal capacity predicted fewer depressive daily-life experiences in men only. These findings suggest that in the case of cognitive reappraisal, benefits for well-being in women might depend on a more complex combination of basic ability, habits, and efficacy-beliefs, along with the use of other emotion regulation strategies. The results of this study may have useful implications for psychotherapy research and practice.
... Because we asked participants to identify the single most salient emotion and single most applicable behavior, the variability around our measures of interest was relatively limited. Finally, although we provided plain English descriptions of each behavior, it is possible that participants did not accurately report what they did or engaged in unlisted behaviors instead of or in addition to the options presented to them (Opitz et al. 2015). Future researchers are encouraged to extend these results by recruiting larger samples and assessing a wider variety of emotions and theoretically important behaviors. ...
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In Linehan’s (1993) biosocial theory, borderline personality disorder (BPD) results in part from frequent, intense, negative emotions and maladaptive behavioral responses to those emotions. We conducted a secondary data analysis of an intensive single-case experimental design to explore hourly relations among behavioral responses and emotions in BPD. Eight participants with BPD (Mage = 21.57, 63% female; 63% Asian-American) reported their emotions and behaviors hourly on two days. Participants reported a neutral-to-negative average emotional state with substantial variability each day. This emotional state was characterized most frequently by anxiety and joy. Participants tended to “dig into”, or savor, experiences of joy, but problem-solve around, push away, or accept anxiety. Acceptance predicted hour-by-hour increases in negative emotion intensity, and pushing emotions away predicted hour-by-hour increases in positive emotion intensity. These results suggest that anxiety dominates the emotional experiences of people with BPD and co-occurs with a variety of emotion regulation strategies, while joy co-occurs with strategies designed to prolong emotional experiences. Despite its general adaptiveness, acceptance may be less effective, and pushing emotions away may be more effective, than other emotion regulation strategies at improving momentary negative emotions for those with BPD. We discuss the preliminary nature of these findings and encourage future researchers to build on them in larger samples with more severe presentations of BPD.
... We measured the habitual use of two emotion regulation strategies (cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression) in daily life using the Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (ERQ) (Gross & John, 2003). We also measured self-report scores of the actual use of these strategies in the picturewatching task, given that multiple emotional regulation strategies may be used during a natural emotion-evoking situation (Aldao & Nolen-Hoeksema, 2013;Opitz et al., 2015;Szasz et al., 2018). Subsequently, correlation analyses and mediation analyses were conducted to probe the associations between spontaneous emotion regulation, functional couplings of amygdala sub-regions and emotional response. ...
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Emotional regulation is known to be associated with activity in the amygdala. The amygdala is an emotion-generative region that comprises of structurally and functionally distinct nuclei. However, little is known about the contributions of different frontal-amygdala sub-region pathways to emotion regulation. Here, we investigated how functional couplings between frontal regions and amygdala sub-regions are involved in different spontaneous emotion regulation processes by using an individual-difference approach and a generalized psycho-physiological interaction (gPPI) approach. Specifically, 50 healthy participants reported their dispositional use of spontaneous cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression in daily life and their actual use of these two strategies during the performance of an emotional-picture watching task. Results showed that functional coupling between the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) and the basolateral amygdala (BLA) was associated with higher scores of both dispositional and actual uses of reappraisal. Similarly, functional coupling between the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) and the centromedial amygdala (CMA) was associated with higher scores of both dispositional and actual uses of suppression. Mediation analyses indicated that functional coupling of the right OFC-BLA partially mediated the association between reappraisal and emotional response, irrespective of whether reappraisal was measured by dispositional use (indirect effect(SE)=-0.2021 (0.0811), 95%CI(BC)= [-0.3851, -0.0655]) or actual use (indirect effect(SE)=-0.1951 (0.0796), 95%CI(BC)= [-0.3654, -0.0518])). These findings suggest that spontaneous reappraisal and suppression involve distinct frontal- amygdala functional couplings, and the modulation of BLA activity from OFC may be necessary for changing emotional response during reappraisal.
... One caveat to this line of research is the repeated finding that more intense momentary emotions tend to prompt the use of more emotion regulation strategies (Ford et al., 2019). When using retrospective recall , directly engaging with a disgust-eliciting video (Aldao & Nolen-Hoeksema, 2013), or viewing negatively-valenced images (Opitz et al., 2015), people used a greater variety of adaptive and maladaptive strategies in response to more intense momentary negative emotions. In combination with the previous results, these findings may suggest that more intense negative emotions prompt people to use more emotion regulation strategies in the hopes of finding the "right" one Southward et al., 2018). ...
Preprint
Emotion dysregulation is fundamental to a range of psychiatric disorders. Leading psychological treatments are often designed to teach several emotion regulation strategies. However, teaching a wide range of strategies may be an inefficient way to enhance emotional functioning. We propose a framework of emotion dysregulation to guide the development of more efficient and flexible interventions. We review motivational (i.e., self-efficacy), between- situation (i.e., increasing frequency, quantity, or quality of adaptive strategy use; decreasing frequency of maladaptive strategy use), and within-situation mechanisms (i.e., using more or fewer strategies in a given situation; optimally ordering strategies) as well as temporal targets of emotion regulation interventions (i.e., short-term effectiveness vs. long-term adaptiveness). Throughout, we detail recommendations for researchers to test these mechanisms and targets.
... Moreover, across 10 emotional situations, between 78 and 92% of participants report using more than one emotion regulation strategy [26]. Finally, while looking to the extent to which participants combine instructed and uninstructed emotion regulation strategies, a study found that a significant proportion of participants reported using more than one emotion regulation strategy simultaneously [27]. ...
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Background Emotion regulation alters the trajectories of emotional responses and, when effective, transforms the emotional responses to help individuals adapt to their environment. Previous research has mainly focused on the efficiency of regulation strategies performed individually at a given time. Yet, in daily life, it is likely that several strategies are often combined. Thus, we question in this study the combinatorial efficiency of two emotion regulation strategies, Situation selection and Emotional suppression. Methods In a within-subject design, sixty-five participants were asked to implement either no strategy, Situation selection only, Emotional suppression only, or both strategies together (four conditions) while looking at various emotionally charged images. Experience, expressivity, and physiological arousal were recorded throughout the viewing. Repeated-measures ANOVAs and corrected post-hoc tests were used for analyzing the data. Results The results of the combined strategies showed that Emotional suppression canceled the beneficial impact of Situation selection on negative experience, while significantly increasing the impact on cardiac activity. The use of both strategies together had a greater effect on respiratory function with an enhanced decrease in respiratory rate and amplitude. Conclusions The combinatorial effect of emotion regulation strategies is different according to the emotional response that the individual needs to regulate. The simultaneous use of Situation selection and Emotional suppression could be particularly beneficial to relieve physiological symptoms.
... Because we asked participants to identify the single most salient emotion and single most applicable behavior, the variability around our measures of interest was relatively limited. Finally, although we provided plain English descriptions of each behavior, it is possible that participants did not accurately report what they did or engaged in unlisted behaviors instead of or in addition to the options presented to them (Opitz et al., 2015). Future researchers are encouraged to extend these results by recruiting larger samples and assessing a wider variety of emotions and theoretically important behaviors. ...
Preprint
Full-text available
In Linehan’s (1993) biosocial theory, borderline personality disorder (BPD) results in part from frequent, intense, negative emotions and maladaptive behavioral responses to those emotions. We conducted a secondary data analysis of an intensive single-case experimental design to explore hourly relations among behavioral responses and emotions in BPD. Eight participants with BPD (Mage = 21.57, 63% female; 63% Asian) reported their emotions and behaviors hourly on two days. Participants reported a neutral-to-negative average emotional state with substantial variability each day. This emotional state was characterized most frequently by anxiety and joy. Participants tended to “dig into”, or savor, experiences of joy, but problem-solve around, push away, or accept anxiety. Acceptance predicted hour-by-hour increases in negative emotion intensity, and pushing emotions away predicted hour-by-hour increases in positive emotion intensity. These results suggest that anxiety dominates the emotional experiences of people with BPD and co-occurs with a variety of emotion regulation strategies, while joy co-occurs with strategies designed to prolong emotional experiences. Despite its general adaptiveness, acceptance may be less effective, and pushing emotions away may be more effective, than other emotion regulation strategies at improving momentary negative emotions for those with BPD. We discuss the preliminary nature of these findings and encourage future researchers to build on them in larger samples with more severe presentations of BPD.
... Given the increasing attention to context, the deviation of the current emotion induction procedure from past studies may be noteworthy (Aldao, Sheppes, & Gross, 2015). Specifically, previous experimental work revealed that as the intensity of emotion induction stimuli increases, a participant's tendency to rely on strategies beyond reappraisal also increases (Opitz, Cavanagh, & Urry, 2015). Thus, the graphic depiction of injured individuals within the current study is likely comparable to high-intensity stimuli, leading to use of strategies such as avoidance (i.e. ...
Article
Implicit emotion regulation is a mechanism that relies on habitual patterns to regulate efficiently without direct awareness. While an important aspect of successful regulation, few studies have assessed it experimentally. Those that have typically prime reappraisal and compare this strategy to explicit reappraisal or a control. The current study introduced a novel paradigm to assess implicit use of reappraisal or suppression. Specifically, we used a cognitive bias modification task to evaluate differences in implicit emotion regulation strategy selection. This resulted in roughly half of the participants tending toward choosing predominantly reappraisal words (High Reappraisers) and half choosing equal numbers of reappraisal and suppression words (Flexible Regulators). The possibility that this reflected implicit regulation style was further supported by significant relationships between implicit regulation choice and self-reported use of strategies. Contrary to hypotheses, implicit regulation style did not affect self-reported emotions following the distress task. Still, those scoring high in implicit reappraisal reported fewer difficulties in overall emotion regulation. These findings highlight the utility of a behavioral measure to capture variations in implicit emotion regulation style to better understand the context and factors that are most effective for emotion regulation more generally.
... This finding suggests that the patients had lower cognitive control over emotional stimuli and may activate different ("less cognitive") emotion regulation strategies, reflected in sensorimotor network activation even though the authors of the study restricted the task to cognitive reappraisal of emotional stimuli. Opitz et al. (21) point to the fact that people in laboratory settings are likely to use whichever emotion-regulation strategies work best for them even when they have been trained and instructed to use one specific strategy. ...
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Background: Affective dysregulation and impaired cognitive control are implicated in the pathology of functional neurological disorders (FNDs). However, voluntary regulation of emotions has seldom been researched in this group of patients. We hypothesized that patients with FNDs use inefficient voluntary emotion regulation strategies and regulate emotional reactions via increased motor activation. Methods: Fifteen patients with functional movement disorder (FMD) and fifteen healthy subjects matched by age, sex, and education underwent an emotion regulation task in fMRI. For stimuli, we used neutral and negative pictures from the International Affective Picture System. There was no restriction on their emotion regulation strategy. Both patients and healthy subjects were asked about the strategies they had used in a post-scanning interview. Participant levels of depression, trait anxiety, and alexithymia were assessed. Results: There were no significant differences in the emotion regulation strategies used by patients and healthy subjects, nor in levels of reported alexithymia and depression. However, patients showed increased activation in several brain areas when observing negative pictures, notably in the post-central gyrus, precuneus, posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) and cerebellar vermis, and also in their emotion regulation condition, particularly in the precuneus and post-central gyrus. Alexithymia was negatively associated with left insular activation during the observation of unpleasant stimuli only in the patient group. Conclusions: Our findings may implicate areas associated with self-referential processing in voluntary emotional regulation and lower emotional awareness as having a role in patients with functional movement disorders. However, our findings must be replicated with larger sample.
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Mental imagery is an important tool in the cognitive control of emotion. The present study tests the prediction that visual imagery can generate and regulate differential fear conditioning via the activation and prioritization of stimulus representations in early visual cortices. We combined differential fear conditioning with manipulations of viewing and imagining basic visual stimuli in humans. We discovered that mental imagery of a fear-conditioned stimulus compared to imagery of a safe conditioned stimulus generated a significantly greater conditioned response as measured by self-reported fear, the skin conductance response, and right anterior insula activity (experiment 1). Moreover, mental imagery effectively down- and up-regulated the fear conditioned responses (experiment 2). Multivariate classification using the functional magnetic resonance imaging data from retinotopically defined early visual regions revealed significant decoding of the imagined stimuli in V2 and V3 (experiment 1) but significantly reduced decoding in these regions during imagery-based regulation (experiment 2). Together, the present findings indicate that mental imagery can generate and regulate a differential fear conditioned response via mechanisms of the depictive theory of imagery and the biased-competition theory of attention. These findings also highlight the potential importance of mental imagery in the manifestation and treatment of psychological illnesses.
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Background: Past studies have been equivocal regarding age differences in reappraisal efficacy. Moreover, the use of laboratory-generated stimuli (e.g., images, film clips) may overestimate age differences. Instead, the use of self-relevant stimuli (e.g., autobiographical memory) may better represent the day-to-day implementation of reappraisal. Method: Younger and older adults generated 50 negative memories and provided negativity, positivity, and vividness ratings. One to two weeks later, participants underwent a reappraisal task during which physiological data were collected. Participants implemented one of the three instructions for 30 seconds: remember naturally, increase negative reactions, or decrease negative reactions via a “positivizing” tactic. Results: Prior to the regulation session, older adults rated all memories more positively than younger adults. No age differences in negativity or vividness ratings emerged. After regulation, older adults rated memories more positively, negatively, and vividly than younger adults. Physiological data suggest that reappraisal demands may have been more cognitively demanding for older adults. However, older adults reported higher negativity and positivity than younger adults. Conclusion: This challenges the existing theory regarding age and emotion regulation. We contend that reappraisal was achieved by younger and older adults; however, achievement may have emerged in slightly different ways.
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Nearly half of all cancer deaths are attributable to preventable causes, primarily unhealthy behaviours such as tobacco use, alcohol use and overeating. In this review, we argue that people engage in these behaviours, at least in part, as a means of regulating their affective states. To better understand why people engage in these behaviours and how researchers might design interventions to promote the selection of healthier methods for regulating affect, we propose a conceptual model of affect regulation. We synthesise research from both the stress and coping tradition as well as the emotion and emotion regulation tradition, two literatures that are not typically integrated. In so doing, we indicate where researchers have made headway in understanding these behaviours as affect regulation and note how our model could be used to structure future work in a way that would be particularly advantageous to cancer control efforts.
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Negative interpersonal events, such as close relationship conflicts, can threaten one’s affective and social well-being. To improve affect and to maintain valuable relationships, individuals could select different reappraisal tactics. One could use positive reappraisal to find potential benefits of the event (e.g. “This conflict helps our relationship grow.”), or use minimising reappraisal to decrease the perceived impact of event (e.g. “This is no big deal.”). These two tactics target distinct appraisal dimensions: valence versus significance. We investigated whether these two reappraisals would show similar or different profiles of affective and social effects in the context of close relationship conflicts. Study 1 was based on a sample of 90 Chinese younger adults. Study 2 was based on a sample of 237 American adults (156 MTurk workers and 81 undergraduates combined). Across two studies, both reappraisals effectively improved affect in response to a recalled conflict. Minimising reappraisal group showed significantly increased affect and relationship satisfaction (Study 1&2), but decreased conflict resolution motivation (Study 2) across time. Positive reappraisal group, on the other hand, showed less pronounced increases in positive affect but increased conflict resolution self-efficacy across time (Study 1&2). We discuss these findings by highlighting within-reappraisal variation and potential trade-offs in pursuing affective and social regulation goals.
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Particular emotion regulation (ER) strategies are beneficial in certain contexts, but little is known about the adaptiveness of switching strategies after implementing an initial strategy. Research and theory on regulatory flexibility suggest that people switch strategies dynamically and that internal states provide feedback indicating when switches are appropriate. Frequent switching may predict positive outcomes among people who respond to this feedback. We investigated whether internal feedback (particularly corrugator activity, heart rate, or subjective negative intensity) guides people to switch to an optimal (i.e., distraction) but not nonoptimal (i.e., reappraisal) strategy for regulating strong emotion. We also tested whether switching frequency and responsiveness to internal feedback (RIF) together predict well-being. While attempting to regulate emotion elicited by unpleasant pictures, participants could switch to an optimal (Study 1; reappraisal-to-distraction order; N = 90) or nonoptimal (Study 2; distraction-to-reappraisal order; N = 95) strategy for high-arousal emotion. A RIF score for each emotion measure indexed the relative strength of emotion during the initial phase for trials on which participants later switched strategies. As hypothesized, negative intensity, corrugator activity, and the magnitude of heart rate deceleration during this early phase were higher on switch than maintain trials in Study 1 only. Critically, in Study 1 only, greater switching frequency predicted higher and lower life satisfaction for participants with high and low corrugator RIF, respectively, even after controlling for reappraisal success. Individual differences in RIF may contribute to subjective well-being provided that the direction of strategy switching aligns well with regulatory preferences for high emotion. (PsycINFO Database Record
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How do people flexibly regulate their emotions in order to manage the diverse demands of varying situations? This question assumes particular importance given the central role that emotion regulation (ER) deficits play in many forms of psychopathology. In this review, we propose a translational framework for the study of ER flexibility that is relevant to normative and clinical populations. We also offer a set of computational tools that are useful for work on ER flexibility. We specify how such tools can be used in a variety of settings, such as basic research, experimental psychopathology, and clinical practice. Our goal is to encourage the theoretical and methodological precision that is needed in order to facilitate progress in this important area.
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This article reports differences across 23 countries on 2 processes of emotion regulation––reappraisal and suppression. Cultural dimensions were correlated with country means on both and the relationship between them. Cultures that emphasized the maintenance of social order––that is, those that were long-term oriented and valued embeddedness and hierarchy––tended to have higher scores on suppres-sion, and reappraisal and suppression tended to be positively correlated. In contrast, cultures that minimized the maintenance of social order and valued individual Affective Autonomy and Egalitarianism tended to have lower scores on Suppression, and Reappraisal and Suppression tended to be negatively correlated. Moreover, country-level emotion regulation was significantly correlated with country-level indices of both positive and negative adjustment. The 37 coauthors of this article, in alphabetical order by last name, are as follows:
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Involuntary episodic memories come to mind spontaneously-that is, with no preceding retrieval attempts. Such memories are frequent in daily life, in which they are predominantly positive and often triggered by situational features matching distinctive parts of the memory. However, individuals suffering from psychological disorders, such as posttraumatic stress disorder, have stressful, repetitive, and unwanted involuntary memories about negative events in their past. These unwanted recollections are disturbing and debilitating. Although such intrusive involuntary memories are observed across a range of clinical disorders, there is no broadly agreed upon explanation of their underlying mechanisms and no successful experimental simulations of their retrieval. In a series of experiments, we experimentally manipulated the activation of involuntary episodic memories for emotional and neutral scenes and predicted their activation on the basis of manipulations carried out at encoding and retrieval. Our findings suggest that the interplay between cue discriminability at the time of retrieval and emotional arousal at the time of encoding are crucial for explaining intrusive memories following negative events. While cue distinctiveness is important directly following encoding of the scenes, emotional intensity influences retrieval after delays of 24 hr and 1 week. Voluntary remembering follows the same pattern as involuntary remembering. Our results suggest an explanatory model of intrusive involuntary memory for emotional events in clinical disorders. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).
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Emotion influences most aspects of cognition and behavior, but emotional factors are conspicuously absent from current models of word recognition. The influence of emotion on word recognition has mostly been reported in prior studies on the automatic vigilance for negative stimuli, but the precise nature of this relationship is unclear. Various models of automatic vigilance have claimed that the effect of valence on response times is categorical, an inverted U, or interactive with arousal. In the present study, we used a sample of 12,658 words and included many lexical and semantic control factors to determine the precise nature of the effects of arousal and valence on word recognition. Converging empirical patterns observed in word-level and trial-level data from lexical decision and naming indicate that valence and arousal exert independent monotonic effects: Negative words are recognized more slowly than positive words, and arousing words are recognized more slowly than calming words. Valence explained about 2% of the variance in word recognition latencies, whereas the effect of arousal was smaller. Valence and arousal do not interact, but both interact with word frequency, such that valence and arousal exert larger effects among low-frequency words than among high-frequency words. These results necessitate a new model of affective word processing whereby the degree of negativity monotonically and independently predicts the speed of responding. This research also demonstrates that incorporating emotional factors, especially valence, improves the performance of models of word recognition. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).
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Emotion regulation has been conceptualized as a process by which individuals modify their emotional experiences, expressions, and physiology and the situations eliciting such emotions in order to produce appropriate responses to the ever-changing demands posed by the environment. Thus, context plays a central role in emotion regulation. This is particularly relevant to the work on emotion regulation in psychopathology, because psychological disorders are characterized by rigid responses to the environment. However, this recognition of the importance of context has appeared primarily in the theoretical realm, with the empirical work lagging behind. In this review, the author proposes an approach to systematically evaluate the contextual factors shaping emotion regulation. Such an approach consists of specifying the components that characterize emotion regulation and then systematically evaluating deviations within each of these components and their underlying dimensions. Initial guidelines for how to combine such dimensions and components in order to capture substantial and meaningful contextual influences are presented. This approach is offered to inspire theoretical and empirical work that it is hoped will result in the development of a more nuanced and sophisticated understanding of the relationship between context and emotion regulation. © The Author(s) 2013.
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Addressing internal validity concerns in emotion regulation research, the present experiment was primarily designed to determine whether research participants are compliant when asked to use a response-focused strategy during emotional film viewing or whether these individuals incorporate the use of antecedent strategies. The influence of antecedent vs. response-focused strategy use on self-reported affect, physiological, and behavioural data were additionally investigated. A total of 82 healthy undergraduate participants were asked to use one of two response-focused emotion regulation techniques—suppression or exaggeration—while watching a 2 minute positive or negative movie. Following the movie, participants self-reported their affective response to the film, described how they tried to suppress or exaggerate their reaction (i.e., strategies used to regulate their response), and estimated the percentage of time they used each strategy. Representing “antecedent” and “response-focused” techniques, the strategies reported by participants were coded as “cognitive” or “muscular” in nature. Relative to exaggerators, participants in the suppression condition were significantly more likely to self-report using an antecedent (cognitive) strategy for at least some portion of the film (65% vs. 38%). During the suppression condition, greater use of antecedent strategies did not influence sympathetic reactivity to either movie but did result in significantly less self-reported negative affect to the negative movie.
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This paper presents a provisional classification of deliberate strategies for improving unpleasant affect based on conceptual judgements concerning their similarities and differences. A corpus of self-reported upward affectregulation strategies was collected using questionnaires, interviews, and group discussions, in conjunction with an examination of existing literature on related topics. A total of 162 distinct strategies were identified and a preliminary categorisation was developed by the investigators. We then conducted a card-sort task in which 24 participants produced separate classifications of the strategies. The similarity matrix arising from co-occurrence data was subjected to hierarchical cluster analysis and the obtained typology provided independent support for our proposed distinctions between strategies implemented cognitively and behaviourally, between diversion and engagement strategies, and between active distraction and direct avoidance, and for specific lower-level groupings of strategies relating to venting, reappraisal, and seeking social support. Potential refinements and applications of the resulting classification system are considered.
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Successful social functioning requires adaptive forms of emotion awareness and regulation. However, despite well-documented deficits in social functioning in individuals with schizophrenia, little is known about emotion awareness and regulation in this population. Therefore, we compared emotion awareness and regulation in individuals with schizophrenia and healthy controls, and then, within the schizophrenia group, we examined their impact on social functioning. Forty-four individuals with schizophrenia and 20 healthy controls completed measures of emotion awareness, emotion regulation, and social functioning, in addition to control measures, including neurocognitive functioning. Compared to controls, individuals with schizophrenia displayed significant deficits describing and identifying their emotions and used significantly less reappraisal and more suppression to regulate their emotions. Among the schizophrenia group, better social functioning was associated with the ability to identify, and in particular to describe emotions, better emotion management, as well as greater use of reappraisal and less use of suppression. A hierarchical multiple regression analysis indicated that, after controlling for age and neurocognition, difficulties describing feelings accounted for 35% of the social functioning variance. The present study highlights the importance of emotion awareness and regulation in schizophrenia, pointing to their substantial influence on social functioning above and beyond the impact of neurocognitive functioning.
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Fleiss’ popular multirater kappa is known to be influenced by prevalence and bias, which can lead to the paradox of high agreement but low kappa. It also assumes that raters are restricted in how they can distribute cases across categories, which is not a typical feature of many agreement studies. In this article, a free-marginal, multirater alternative to Fleiss’ multirater kappa is introduced. Free-marginal Multirater Kappa (multirater κfree), like its birater free-marginal counterparts (PABAK, S, RE, and κm,) is not influenced by kappa and is appropriate for the typical agreement study, in which raters’ distributions of cases into categories are not restricted. Recommendations for the proper use of multirater κfree are included.
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The past decade and a half has witnessed a renewed interest in the study of affective processes. James Gross' process model of emotion regulation has provided a theoretical framework for this approach. This model stipulates that individuals have a repertoire of emotion regulation strategies they use in order to modify their affect and/or the situations eliciting such affect. However, empirical investigations of the use of emotion regulation strategies have largely oversimplified this model by assuming that individuals use only one regulation strategy to manage the affect elicited by a given emotion-eliciting stimulus or situation. This is problematic because it has resulted in a limited understanding of the complex process by which individuals select and implement regulation strategies. In this brief report, we present findings suggesting that people spontaneously use multiple emotion regulation strategies in response to a brief disgust-eliciting film clip. We discuss implications for future empirical work on emotion regulation strategies.
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The present meta-analysis investigated the effectiveness of strategies derived from the process model of emotion regulation in modifying emotional outcomes as indexed by experiential, behavioral, and physiological measures. A systematic search of the literature identified 306 experimental comparisons of different emotion regulation (ER) strategies. ER instructions were coded according to a new taxonomy, and meta-analysis was used to evaluate the effectiveness of each strategy across studies. The findings revealed differences in effectiveness between ER processes: Attentional deployment had no effect on emotional outcomes (d(+) = 0.00), response modulation had a small effect (d(+) = 0.16), and cognitive change had a small-to-medium effect (d(+) = 0.36). There were also important within-process differences. We identified 7 types of attentional deployment, 4 types of cognitive change, and 4 types of response modulation, and these distinctions had a substantial influence on effectiveness. Whereas distraction was an effective way to regulate emotions (d(+) = 0.27), concentration was not (d(+) = -0.26). Similarly, suppressing the expression of emotion proved effective (d(+) = 0.32), but suppressing the experience of emotion or suppressing thoughts of the emotion-eliciting event did not (d(+) = -0.04 and -0.12, respectively). Finally, reappraising the emotional response proved less effective (d(+) = 0.23) than reappraising the emotional stimulus (d(+) = 0.36) or using perspective taking (d(+) = 0.45). The review also identified several moderators of strategy effectiveness including factors related to the (a) to-be-regulated emotion, (b) frequency of use and intended purpose of the ER strategy, (c) study design, and (d) study characteristics.
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Studies of emotion regulation typically contrast two or more strategies (e.g., reappraisal vs. suppression) and ignore variation within each strategy. To address such variation, we focused on cognitive reappraisal and considered the effects of goals (i.e., what people are trying to achieve) and tactics (i.e., what people actually do) on outcomes (i.e., how affective responses change). To examine goals, we randomly assigned participants to either increase positive emotion or decrease negative emotion to a negative stimulus. To examine tactics, we categorized participants' reports of how they reappraised. To examine reappraisal outcomes, we measured experience and electrodermal responding. Findings indicated that (a) the goal of increasing positive emotion led to greater increases in positive affect and smaller decreases in skin conductance than the goal of decreasing negative emotion, and (b) use of the reality challenge tactic was associated with smaller increases in positive affect during reappraisal. These findings suggest that reappraisal can be implemented in the service of different emotion goals, using different tactics. Such differences are associated with different outcomes, and they should be considered in future research and applied attempts to maximize reappraisal success.
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As an ability critical for adaptive social living, behavioral inhibitory control (BIC) is known to be influenced substantially by unpleasant emotion. Nevertheless, how unpleasant emotion of diverse strength influences this control, and the spatiotemporal dynamics underlying this influence, remain undetermined. For this purpose, Event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded for standard stimulus which required no BIC, and for deviant stimuli that required controlling habitual responses, during highly unpleasant (HU), mildly unpleasant (MU) and Neutral blocks. The results showed delayed response latencies for deviant compared to standard stimuli, irrespective of emotionality. Moreover, there were significant main effects of stimulus type, and significant stimulus type and block interaction effects on the averaged amplitudes of the 230-310 ms and 330-430 ms intervals. In the deviant-standard difference waves which directly index BIC-relevant processing, these interactions were manifested by increased negative potentials as a function of the strength of unpleasant emotion across N2 and P3 components. In addition, these influences are specific to unpleasant emotion, as pleasant emotion of diverse strength produced a similar impact in the control experiment. Therefore, unpleasant emotion of diverse strength is different in impact on brain processing of behavioral inhibitory control. This impact is evident not only in early monitoring of response conflicts, but also in late processing of response inhibition.
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Despite cognitive and physical declines, it has been suggested that older adults remain able to regulate their emotions effectively. However, whether this is true for all emotion regulation processes has not been established. We hypothesized that cognitive reappraisal, a form of emotion regulation requiring intact cognitive control ability, may be compromised in older age, and that this age difference would be mediated by reduced activation in prefrontal cortex (PFC). Sixteen younger and 15 older adults used gaze-directed reappraisal to increase and decrease emotion in response to unpleasant pictures. This was compared with simply viewing the pictures. Relative to younger adults, older adults were less successful using reappraisal to decrease unpleasant emotion but more successful using reappraisal to increase unpleasant emotion. They also exhibited reduced activation in dorsomedial and left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex. Importantly, activation in these regions differentially mediated the effect of age on emotion. This pattern confirms the importance of cognitive control in reappraising unpleasant situations and suggests that older age may (but does not always) confer effective emotion regulation.
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Extensive evidence shows that emotional events tend to be remembered in greater detail and with an enhanced sense of vividness compared to neutral events. The current study investigated the neural correlates of this phenomenon during retrieval using the event-related potentials technique (ERP). Participants were asked to perform a memory recognition test of previously studied ("Old") and unstudied ("New") emotional and neutral pictures encoded a week before the test session. Next, they were asked to perform a Remember-Know task (Gardiner and Java, 1993) for each "old" decision. ERPs were created for retrieval activity corresponding to six conditions: Remember-Emotional, Remember-Neutral, Know-Emotional, Know-Neutral, New-Emotional and New-Neutral. Results showed that negative emotion enhanced three distinct subtypes of the electrophysiological old-new effect specifically for old items associated with a "Remember" judgment. This effect was observed for ERP old-new effects conforming to an early frontal P2 old-new effect peaking at ~180 ms, a midfrontal old-new effect starting at ~300 ms (the "FN400") and a late positive complex (LPC) with parietal maxima observed at 500-700 ms. In addition, a breakdown of our data in different levels of emotional arousal revealed that the relationship between ERP correlates of retrieval and arousal conformed to a nonlinear, inverted U-shaped function for posterior late effects (500-700) and to a linear function for early effects (P2 and FN400). Taken together, these results suggest that multiple retrieval subprocesses contribute to the emotional enhancement of recollective experience.
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Cognitive reappraisal (CR) is an emotion-regulatory (ER) process that is theorized to operate via changes in appraisals. CR is distinct from attentional deployment (AD), an ER process that is theorized to operate via changes in attention. However, a recent neuroimaging study has suggested that the ER effects of CR might largely be explained by AD. In this study, I manipulated CR while holding visual AD constant across CR conditions. In a randomized within-subjects design, 54 participants used CR to increase and decrease emotion in response to unpleasant pictures. This was compared with simply viewing the pictures. On all trials, gaze was directed to a circumscribed area of the pictures. Even with gaze held constant across conditions, increase reappraisals led to higher ratings of emotional intensity, greater corrugator activity, and greater autonomic arousal. In addition, decrease reappraisals led to lower ratings of emotional intensity and lower corrugator activity, the latter of which held only when gaze was directed to arousing information. Overall, the results suggest that changes in appraisal are the likely mechanism for the ER effects of CR.
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The effects of negative emotional intensity on memory-related brain activity were tested by using human scalp event-related potentials (ERP). A neural index of memory function--the electrophysiological 'Old-New' effect--was obtained from participants undertaking a memory recognition test of previously studied ('old') and unstudied ('new') pictures of variable levels of negative emotional intensity. The magnitude of the old-new effect was compared across four different levels of linearly increasing stimulus emotional intensity. Results revealed an inverted-U-shaped effect of emotional intensity on the magnitude of ERP old-new differences starting at 300 ms after stimulus onset. These results suggest that moderate negative emotions can enhance memory brain function, whereas extreme levels of emotional intensity have the potential of inhibiting memory function. Results are discussed in terms of their implications for neurobiological and psychological models of emotion-memory interactions.
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Using a process model of emotion, a distinction between antecedent-focused and response-focused emotion regulation is proposed. To test this distinction, 120 participants were shown a disgusting film while their experiential, behavioral, and physiological responses were recorded. Participants were told to either (a) think about the film in such a way that they would feel nothing (reappraisal, a form of antecedent-focused emotion regulation), (b) behave in such a way that someone watching them would not know they were feeling anything (suppression, a form of response-focused emotion regulation), or (c) watch the film (a control condition). Compared with the control condition, both reappraisal and suppression were effective in reducing emotion-expressive behavior. However, reappraisal decreased disgust experience, whereas suppression increased sympathetic activation. These results suggest that these 2 emotion regulatory processes may have different adaptive consequences.
Article
Emotion regulation has been argued to be an important factor in well-being. The current study investigated the effects of adult aging on emotional expression, emotional control and rumination about emotional events, focusing on an emotion which is particularly important in social interaction: anger. Measures of anger regulation and well-being were obtained in a sample of 286 adults aged between 18 and 88. Older adults expressed anger outwardly less often, and reported more inner control of anger using calming strategies compared to their younger counterparts. These age differences were not explained by variance in social desirability of responding. Age improvements in negative affect and anxiety were partly explained by age differences in anger regulation suggesting an important role for anger management in good mental health amongst older adults. Further, age improvements in quality of life were explained by variance in anger regulation indicating that improved management of emotions with age is an important factor in maintaining well-being in old age.
& Multinational study of cultural display rules
  • D Matsumoto
  • S H Yoo
  • S Nakagawa
Matsumoto, D., Yoo, S. H., Nakagawa, S., & Multinational study of cultural display rules (2008). Culture, emotion regulation, and adjustment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94(6), 925-937. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.94.6.925.
  • P C Opitz
P.C. Opitz et al. / Personality and Individual Differences 86 (2015) 455–464