Time course of emotion-related responding during distraction and reappraisal.
ABSTRACT: Theoretical accounts of emotion regulation (ER) discriminate various cognitive strategies to voluntarily modify emotional states. Amongst these, attentional deployment (i.e. distraction) and cognitive change (i.e. reappraisal), have been shown to successfully down-regulate emotions. Neuroimaging studies found that both strategies differentially engage neural structures associated with selective attention, working memory and cognitive control. The aim of this study was to further delineate similarities and differences between the ER strategies reappraisal and distraction by investigating their temporal brain dynamics using event-related potentials (ERPs) and their patterns of facial expressive behavior. Twenty-one participants completed an ER experiment in which they had to either passively view positive, neutral and negative pictures, reinterpret them to down-regulate affective responses (reappraisal), or solve a concurrently presented mathematical equation (distraction). Results demonstrate the efficacy of both strategies in the subjective control of emotion, accompanied by reductions of facial expressive activity (Corrugator supercilii and Zygomaticus major). ERP results indicated that distraction, compared with reappraisal, yielded a stronger and earlier attenuation of the late positive potential (LPP) magnitude for negative pictures. For positive pictures, only distraction but not reappraisal had significant effect on LPP attenuation. The results support the process model of ER, separating subtypes of cognitive strategies based on their specific time course.
Project description:The process model of emotion regulation (ER) is based on stages in the emotion generative process at which regulation may occur. This meta-analysis examines age-related differences in the subjective, behavioral, and physiological outcomes of instructed ER strategies that may be initiated <i>after</i> an emotional event has occurred; attentional deployment, cognitive change, and response modulation. Within-process strategy, stimulus type, and valence were also tested as potential moderators of the effect of age on ER. A systematic search of the literature identified 156 relevant comparisons from 11 studies. Few age-related differences were found. In our analysis of the subjective outcome of response modulation strategies, young adults used expressive enhancement successfully (<i>g</i> = 0.48), but not expressive suppression (<i>g</i> = 0.04). Response modulation strategies had a small positive effect among older adults, and enhancement vs suppression did not moderate this success (<i>g</i> = 0.31 and <i>g</i> = 0.10, respectively). Young adults effectively used response modulation to regulate subjective emotion in response to pictures (<i>g</i> = 0.41) but not films (<i>g</i> = 0.01). Older adults were able to regulate in response to both pictures (<i>g</i> = 0.26) and films (<i>g</i> = 0.11). Interestingly, both age groups effectively used detached reappraisal, but not positive reappraisal to regulate emotional behavior. We conclude that, in line with well-established theories of socioemotional aging, there is a lack of evidence for age differences in the effects of instructed ER strategies, with some moderators suggesting more consistent effectiveness for older compared to younger adults.
Project description:Although emotional intensity powerfully challenges regulatory strategies, its influence remains largely unexplored in affective-neuroscience. Accordingly, the present study addressed the moderating role of emotional intensity in two regulatory stages--implementation (during regulation) and pre-implementation (prior to regulation), of two major cognitive regulatory strategies--distraction and reappraisal. According to our framework, because distraction implementation involves early attentional disengagement from emotional information before it gathers force, in high-intensity it should be more effective in the short-term, relative to reappraisal, which modulates emotional processing only at a late semantic meaning phase. Supporting findings showed that in high (but not low) intensity, distraction implementation resulted in stronger modulation of negative experience, reduced neural emotional processing (centro-parietal late positive potential, LPP), with suggestive evidence for less cognitive effort (frontal-LPP), relative to reappraisal. Related pre-implementation findings confirmed that anticipating regulation of high-intensity stimuli resulted in distraction (over reappraisal) preference. In contrast, anticipating regulation of low-intensity stimuli resulted in reappraisal (over distraction) preference, which is most beneficial for long-term adaptation. Furthermore, anticipating cognitively demanding regulation, either in cases of regulating counter to these preferences or via the more effortful strategy of reappraisal, enhanced neural attentional resource allocation (Stimulus Preceding Negativity). Broad implications are discussed.
Project description:Although research on emotion regulation (ER) is developing, little attention has been paid to the predictive power of ER strategies beyond established constructs. The present study examined the incremental validity of the Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (ERQ; Gross and John, 2003), which measures cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression, over and above the Big Five personality factors. It also extended the evidence for the measure's criterion validity to yet unexamined criteria. A university student sample (N = 203) completed the ERQ, a measure of the Big Five, and relevant cognitive and emotion-laden criteria. Cognitive reappraisal predicted positive affect beyond personality, as well as experiential flexibility and constructive self-assertion beyond personality and affect. Expressive suppression explained incremental variance in negative affect beyond personality and in experiential flexibility beyond personality and general affect. No incremental effects were found for worry, social anxiety, rumination, reflection, and preventing negative emotions. Implications for the construct validity and utility of the ERQ are discussed.
Project description:Monitoring and deciding how to adjust an active regulatory strategy in order to maximize adaptive outcomes is an integral element of emotion regulation, yet existing evidence remains scarce. Filling this gap, the present study examined core factors that determine behavioral regulatory monitoring decisions and the neuro-affective consequences of these decisions. Using a novel paradigm, the initial implementation of central downregulation strategies (distraction, reappraisal) and the emotional intensity (high, low) were manipulated, prior to making a behavioral decision to maintain the initial implemented strategy or switch from it. Neuro-affective consequences of these behavioral decisions were evaluated using the Late Positive Potential (LPP), an electro-cortical measure of regulatory success. Confirming predictions, initial implementation of reappraisal in high intensity and distraction in low intensity (Strategy × Intensity combinations that were established in prior studies as non-preferred by individuals), resulted in increased behavioral switching frequency. Neurally, we expected and found that in high (but not low) emotional intensity, where distraction was more effective than reappraisal, maintaining distraction (relative to switching to reappraisal) and switching to distraction (relative to maintaining reappraisal) resulted in larger LPP modulation. These findings suggest that monitoring decisions are consistent with previously established regulatory preferences and are associated with adaptive short-term neural consequences.
Project description:Multiple emotion regulation strategies have been identified and found to differ in their effectiveness at decreasing negative emotions. One reason for this might be that individual strategies are associated with differing levels of cognitive demand and require distinct patterns of visual attention to achieve their effects. In the current study, we tested this hypothesis in a sample of psychiatrically healthy participants (n = 25) who attempted to down-regulate negative emotion to photographs from the International Affective Picture System using cognitive reappraisal or distraction. Eye movements, pupil dilation, and subjective reports of negative emotionality were obtained for reappraisal, distraction, unpleasant passive viewing, and neutral passive viewing conditions. Behavioral results indicated that reappraisal and distraction successfully decreased self-reported negative affect relative to unpleasant passive viewing. Successful down regulation of negative affect was associated with different patterns of visual attention across regulation strategies. During reappraisal, there was an initial increase in dwell time to arousing scene regions and a subsequent shift away from these regions during later portions of the trial, whereas distraction was associated with reduced total dwell time to arousing interest areas throughout the entire stimulus presentation. Pupil dilation was greater for reappraisal than distraction or unpleasant passive viewing, suggesting that reappraisal may recruit more effortful cognitive control processes. Furthermore, greater decreases in self-reported negative emotion were associated with a lower proportion of dwell time within arousing areas of interest. These findings suggest that different emotion regulation strategies necessitate different patterns of visual attention to be effective and that individual differences in visual attention predict the extent to which individuals can successfully decrease negative emotion using reappraisal and distraction.
Project description:Several influential theories posit that improvements in emotion regulation contribute to enhanced emotional well-being in older adulthood. However, surprisingly little is known about whether there are age differences in emotion regulation strategy use. We addressed this question by testing whether older adults report using typically adaptive strategies more often and regulate more flexibly than relatively younger adults. In a two-part study, 136 married couples (N = 272) aged 23-85 years completed individual difference measures of cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression, and then nine daily reports of a broader range of emotion regulation strategies, now including situation selection, situation modification, and distraction. Older adults reported greater habitual use of suppression, but age did not predict situation selection, situation modification, distraction, or reappraisal. In terms of emotion regulation flexibility, a similar number of strategies were reported on a daily basis regardless of the regulator's age. Unexpectedly, relatively older adults were less variable in their self-reported daily use of each strategy and middle-aged adults were the least variable in their strategy repertoire across different days. These findings counter the common notion that older adults use typically adaptive strategies more than younger adults. Instead, they suggest older adults may be more consistent in their emotion regulation patterns across situations, potentially suggestive of less flexibility. Implications for aging, emotion regulation, and well-being are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record
Project description:The ability to modulate emotional responses, or emotion regulation, is a key mechanism in the development of mood disruptions. Detection of a neural marker for emotion regulation thus has the potential to inform early detection and intervention for mood problems. One such neural marker may be the late positive potential (LPP), which is a scalp-recorded event-related potential reflecting facilitated attention to emotional stimuli. In adults, the LPP is reduced following use of cognitive emotion regulation strategies such as reappraisal. No studies to date have examined the LPP in relation to cognitive emotion regulation in children, and whether the LPP is related to parent-report measures of emotion regulation and mood disruptions.To examine this question, high-density electroencephalograph (EEG) was recorded from 20 children (M age = 87.8 months, SD = 18.02; 10 girls) while they viewed unpleasant emotional pictures following either a directed negative or neutral interpretation of the picture.As predicted, the LPP was smaller following neutral versus negative interpretations at posterior recording sites, except for younger girls (aged 5-6). The timing of this effect was later than that reported in studies with adults. For all children, greater modulation of the LPP by neutral interpretations was associated with reduced anxious-depressed symptoms, whereas larger LPPs for both interpretation types were associated with greater mood symptoms and worse parent-reported emotion regulation.Results suggest that the LPP may represent a clinically relevant neural marker for emotion regulation and mood disruptions.
Project description:Cognitive strategies used in volitional emotion regulation include self-distraction and reappraisal (reinterpretation). There is debate as to what the psychological and neurobiological mechanisms underlying these strategies are. For example, it is unclear whether self-distraction and reappraisal, although distinct at a phenomenological level, are also mediated by distinct neural processes. This is partly because imaging studies on reappraisal and self-distraction have been performed in different emotional contexts and are difficult to compare. We have therefore investigated the neural correlates of self-distraction, as indexed by a thought suppression task, in an anticipatory anxiety paradigm previously employed by us to study reappraisal. Brain activity was measured by functional magnetic resonance imaging. We show that self-distraction recruits the left lateral prefrontal cortex. Based on a review of the existing data, we develop a process model of cognitive emotion regulation. The model posits that both self-distraction and reappraisal attenuate emotional reactions through replacement of emotional by neutral mental contents but achieve replacement in different ways. This is associated with a dependence of self-distraction on a left prefrontal production function, whereas reappraisal depends on a right prefrontal higher order monitoring process.
Project description:Caregiver impact on the efficacy of cognitive emotion regulation (ER; i.e. reappraisal) during childhood is poorly understood, particularly across cultures. We tested the hypothesis that in children from Japan and the USA, a neurocognitive signature of effective reappraisal, the late positive potential (LPP), will be bolstered by cognitive scaffolding by parents, and explored whether the two cultures differed in whether mere physical proximity of parents provides similar benefit. Five-to-seven-year-olds (N?=?116; nJapan?=?58; nUSA?=?58) completed a directed reappraisal task (EEG-recorded) in one of three contexts: (i) parent-scaffolding, (ii) parent-present and (iii) parent-absent. Across cultures, those in the parent-scaffolding group and parent-present group showed effective reappraisal via the LPP relative to those in the parent-absent group. Results suggest that scaffolding is an effective method through which parents in these two cultures buttress child ER, and even parental passive proximity appears to have a meaningful effect on child ER across cultures.
Project description:This study addresses three questions: How often and how consistently do predictors for emotion regulation choice occur in daily life? What predicts emotion regulation choice in daily life? How do predictors for emotion regulation choice interact in daily life? We examined emotion regulation goals (i.e., prohedonic and social goals), situational factors (i.e., perceived control, expected reoccurrence, and emotional intensity), and emotion regulation strategies (i.e., active coping, distraction, rumination, cognitive reappraisal, and expressive suppression) in negative emotion events. A total of 110 individuals (65% female) participated in an experience sampling study and received beeps, five times a day over the course of 9 days. We used a random intercept model to estimate our results. Emotion regulation goals and situational factors vary strongly in different events within the same person. Emotion regulation strategies, effective in changing the emotional experience, are crucial for prohedonic goals, whereas expressive suppression is important for social goals. Perceived control was positively associated with putatively adaptive strategies. Emotional intensity and expected reoccurrence were negatively associated with putatively adaptive strategies. Emotional intensity was positively associated with putatively maladaptive strategies. Emotion regulation strategies were not associated with the interaction of emotion regulation goals and situational factors. We conclude that emotion regulation goals and situational factors are extremely context-dependent, suggesting that they should be treated as states. Emotion regulation goals appear to have a functional association with strategies for prohedonic and social goals. The associations between situational factors and strategies in daily life appear to be largely different from the results found in the laboratory, emphasizing the importance of experience sampling studies.