To succeed in self-regulation, people need to believe that it is possible to change behaviour and they also need to use effective means to enable such a change. We propose that this also applies to emotion regulation. In two studies, we found that people were most successful in emotion regulation, the more they believed emotions can be controlled and the more they used an effective emotion regulation strategy – namely, cognitive reappraisal. Cognitive reappraisal moderated the link between beliefs about the (...) controllability of emotion and success in emotion regulation, when reappraisal was measured as a trait or manipulated. Such moderation was found when examining the regulation of disgust elicited by emotion-inducing films, and the regulation of anger elicited by real political events. We discuss the implications of our findings for research and practice in emotion regulation. (shrink)
People’s beliefs about their ability to control their emotions predict a range of important psychological outcomes. It is not clear, however, whether these beliefs are playing a causal role, and if so, why this might be. In the current research, we tested whether avoidance-based emotion regulation explains the link between beliefs and psychological outcomes. In Study 1, a perceived lack of control over emotions predicted poorer psychological health outcomes, and avoidance strategies indirectly explained these links between emotion beliefs and psychological (...) health. In Study 2, we experimentally manipulated participants’ emotion beliefs by leading participants to believe that they struggled or did not struggle with controlling their emotions. Participants in the low regulatory self-efficacy condition reported increased intentions to engage in avoidance strategies over the next month and were more likely to avoid seeking psychological help. When asked if they would participate in follow-up studies, these participants were also more likely to display avoidance-based emotion regulation. These findings provide initial evidence for the causal role of emotion beliefs in avoidance-based emotion regulation, and document their impact on psychological health-related outcomes. (shrink)
Jamieson, Hangen, Lee, and Yaeager present their empirical findings as evidence for the effects of reappraising arousal on affective responses. This comment highlights the important contribution of the research by Jamieson and colleagues, but offers alternative ways of conceptualizing it.
ABSTRACTA careful look at societies facing threat reveals a unique phenomenon in which liberals and conservatives react emotionally and attitudinally in a similar manner, rallying around the conservative flag. Previous research suggests that this rally effect is the result of liberals shifting in their attitudes and emotional responses toward the conservative end. Whereas theories of motivated social cognition provide a motivation-based account of cognitive processes, it remains unclear whether emotional shifts are, in fact, also a motivation-based process. Herein, we propose (...) that under threat, liberals are motivated to feel existential concern about their group’s future vitality to the same extent as conservatives, because this group-based emotion elicits support for ingroup protective action. Within the context of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, we tested and found support for this hypothesis both inside and outside the laboratory. We d... (shrink)