Implicit Regulation of Emotion: Priming Non-Conscious Reappraisal and Suppression During Stress
Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Gordon, Nakia S.
As individuals experience the world, they must also appropriately modulate their responses to fit their environment. The manner in which one regulates their emotion can vary greatly and influence a number of factors, including self-reported affect and respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA). The majority of research on emotion regulation examines the deliberate, or explicit, regulation of emotion. However, the automatic or implicit regulation of emotion is an important cognitive process that yields several benefits. Recent research demonstrates benefits of using implicit reappraisal; however, no work has been done to examine other implicit strategies. The current study primed implicit reappraisal and suppression prior to two rounds of a distressing math task. Participants (N = 65) rated subjective emotional experience and RSA was recorded at three time points. Results demonstrated a main effect of time for affect, such that affect deteriorated over time. RSA significantly increased during the first round but decreased during the second round of the math task compared to baseline. No significant differences by condition were observed, possibly indicative of comparable implicit regulatory responses by both groups when called to regulate during a lengthy and arduous task. Therefore, more work is needed to examine if various strategies can be primed implicitly, depending on context, and how they may influence functioning.