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Emotion Regulation

Emotion Regulation

The role of left orbitofrontal cortex in selective attention during automatic emotion regulation: evidence from transcranial direct current stimulation

HUA Yan;LI Mingxia;WANG Qiaoting;FENG Caixia;ZHANG Jing

Acta Psychologica Sinica,2020,Vol 52,No. 09

【Abstract】 Emotion regulation plays an important role in maintaining mental balance. Automatic emotion regulation is an important aspect of emotion regulation. Previous studies have found that automatic emotion regulation can influence emotional attention bias, and the activation of the left orbitofrontal cortex (LOFC) was related to attention allocation to negative emotional stimuli. Although previous studies have provided evidence to the involvement of LOFC in the influence mechanism of automatic emotion regulation on attention, few studies provided evidence to this hypothesis by manipulating the activation of LOFC. In order to examine the role of LOFC in attention allocation under automatic emotion regulation, this paper manipulated the cortical excitability by using transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). We hypothesized that under the cathodal stimulation condition, the effect of subliminal emotional control words on attention avoidance of fear stimulation was diminished. Thirty-nine healthy right-handed college students participated in this study. Each participant was settled into cathodal and sham tDCS sessions in random order. After entering the laboratory, the participants completed a state-trait anxiety questionnaire. Then they completed the pre-task, in which emotional control goal was subliminally presented in the beginning of each trial. And fear related dot probe task was adopted in the pre-task. After the task was completed, the participants received tDCS stimulation. A relatively weak current (±1.5 mA) was constantly delivered over the LOFC for 20 minutes. For the sham tDCS, the stimulation only lasted for 15 seconds. After stimulation participants immediately completed the post-task, in which the same task with the pre-task was used. This paper analyzed accuracy and reaction time by a 2 (pre-task and post-task) × 2 (tDCS: cathodal, sham) × 2 (left-right location consistency of snake picture and target) repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA). The results showed that the main effect of location consistency was significant (F(1, 37) = 5.11, p < 0. 05, η p2 = 0.12)), and the reaction time under the consistent condition was significantly greater than that under the inconsistent condition. The interaction between the location consistency and stimulus conditions was significant (F(1, 37) = 9.78, p < 0. 01, η p2 = 0.21). The simple effect analysis revealed that under the condition of sham stimulation, the reaction time under the consistent condition was greater than that under the inconsistent condition (ps < 0. 05). For the cathodal stimulation, there was no significant difference between the reaction time under the consistent condition and the inconsistent condition (p > 0. 05). The interaction between the consistency of pre- and post-task, stimulation condition and location consistency was significant (F(1, 37) = 11.41, p < 0. 01, η p2 = 0.24). Simple effect analysis showed that under the condition of sham stimulus, the reaction time under the consistent condition was greater than that under the inconsistent condition (ps < 0. 05). Under the cathodal stimulation condition, the reaction time under the consistent condition was greater than that under the inconsistent condition (p < 0. 05), while the reaction time under the consistent condition was significantly less than that under the inconsistent condition (p < 0.05). This paper examined the role of LOFC in attention allocation under automatic emotion regulation using subliminal goal priming and dot-probe task. Our findings reveal that after cathodal stimulation, attention avoidance of fear stimuli induced by subliminal control goal priming will be diminished, suggesting that the activation of LOFC influences emotional attention allocation in automatic emotion regulation.

Brain network analysis of cognitive reappraisal and expressive inhibition strategies: evidence from EEG and ERP

SUN Yan;BO Siyu;Lyu Jiaojiao

Acta Psychologica Sinica,2020,Vol 52,No. 01

【Abstract】 The ability to regulate emotions is related to psychological, social, and physical health. The two major emotion regulation strategies are cognitive reappraisal (CR) and expressive suppression (ES). Research suggests that CR produces affective, cognitive, and social consequences that are more beneficial to the individual, whereas ES has been consistently linked to more detrimental consequences. Although an increasing number of studies have begun to focus on the neural mechanisms of different types of emotion regulation, there has not yet been systematic research on the spontaneous brain activity associated with CR and ES. Resting activity has been shown to predict performance outcomes, highlight the functional relevance of the brain’s intrinsic fluctuations in response to outputs. However, to date, there have been no studies to explore the relationship between the cognitive process of emotion regulation and the brain’s resting-stateelectroencephalogram (EEG) activity. The current study explored the neural mechanisms of spontaneous brain activity during two emotion regulation strategies. EEG enables direct measurement of neuronal activity, allowing characterization of the intrinsic neural cognitive network. Thirty-six college students (17 males and 19 females, aged 17–28 years old) participated in this study. For the first part of the study, EEG data were collected from participants with closed eyes; and EEG collection occurred for the duration of 6 minutes. Neurological studies of resting state EEG have identified the predominant role of theta waves in determining cognitive control effort and behavioral performance. In the current study, source localization and graph theory analysis revealed that node efficiency was significantly correlated with the two major emotion regulation strategies, and there was functional connectivity between brain regions in the theta band. Then, in order to improve the reliability of the resting result obtained above, a within-subjects experiment was carried out. This experiment required subjects to watch emotional pictures under four emotion regulation conditions (watching neutral, watching negative, reappraisal negative, suppressing negative). The late positive potential (LPP) amplitude was obtained when viewing the emotional pictures under the four conditions. LPP is an effective physiological indicator of the emotion regulation effect. It allowed us to explore the emotion regulation effect under different emotion regulation strategies, and the intrinsic functional connectivity and node efficiency of the brain. The results showed that the habitual use of CR was significantly correlated with several brain regions. Specifically, the prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulate, and parietal cortex. Moreover, the brain regions significantly correlated with the LPP amplitude under CR were the parietal cortex, prefrontal cortex, parahippocampal gyrus, and occipital cortex. The brain regions that were significantly correlated with habitual use of ES included the prefrontal cortex, parietal cortex, insula, and parahippocampal gyrus. Finally, the brain regions that were significantly associated with LPP amplitude under ES included the prefrontal cortex, parietal cortex, parahippocampal gyrus, temporal cortex, and occipital cortex. Thus, these findings reveal that many brain regions are involved in these two mood regulation strategies, including the prefrontal cortex, parahippocampal gyrus, parietal cortex, and occipital cortex. In addition, the brain regions related to the different emotion regulation strategies differed slightly. specifically, CR was significantly associated with the anterior cingulate cortex while ES was related to temporal lobe and insula activation. In conclusion, the results of this study indicate that use of CR for emotion regulation is associated with activation of multiple brain regions including the prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex, parietal cortex, parahippocampal gyrus and occipital cortex. On the other hand, the use of ES for emotion regulation was associated with activation of various brain regions including the prefrontal cortex, parietal cortex, parahippocampal gyrus, occipital cortex, temporal cortex and insula. Node efficiency or functional connectivity of these brain regions appears to be a suitable indicator for assessing the effects of the ES and CR emotion regulation strategies.

Emotional regulation goals of young adults with depression inclination: An event-related potential study

LI Hong;YANG Xiaoguang;ZHENG Wenyu;WANG Chao

Acta Psychologica Sinica,2019,Vol 51,No. 06

【Abstract】 Researches on deficits in emotion regulation of depression have mainly focused on the selection and application of emotion-regulation strategies; however, it remains unclear whether it is also related to emotion-regulation goals, i.e., the direction of emotion regulation. Situation selection is an antecedent-focused regulation strategy that is worked before the emotional reactions occur and it can be used as an index of emotional-regulation goals. In our current study, the event-related potential (ERP) technique was used to investigate the emotion-regulation goals of young adults with depression inclination. Participants were asked to freely select the emotion-inducing scenes in which they want to put themselves and to report their emotional preferences. ERP results revealed that the amplitudes of Late Positive Potential (LPP) were significantly decreased when viewing the sadness scene in young adults with depression inclination, and they selected to view sadness scene more frequently than healthy young adults. In addition, the ratings of sadness preferences were significantly higher among participants with depression inclination, while the happiness preferences were lower. The current results suggest that, compared to the control group, the individuals with depression inclination are more willing to use situation selection to maintain or enhance their sadness rather than weaken it or enhance their happiness. These findings further indicate that emotion regulation goals of depressive participants may be related to their motivations for selecting emotional stimulus, and provide a new perspective for exploring the causes and mechanisms of emotion regulation deficits in depressive disorders.

The role of right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex on social emotional regulation in subclinical depression: An tDCS study

ZHANG Dandan;LIU Zhenli;CHEN Yu;MAI Xiaoqin

Acta Psychologica Sinica,2019,Vol 51,No. 02

【Abstract】 So far as we know, three studies demonstrated that that the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (RVLPFC) plays an important role in down-regulating the emotional response to social exclusion. In a previous study, we explored the causal relationship between transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and dominant emotional regulation in the context of social exclusion. Depression is an disorder that shows deficits of social functions. Compared with healthy controls, depressive individuals enjoy less in social interaction and the activation of the lateral prefrontal lobe of depressive participants usually reduces. The current study aimed to explore whether the anodal tDCS targeting at RVLPFC could also improve the emotional regulation of social exclusion in participants with high depressive levels. Furthermore, this study added individual negative images as a baseline to test the specificity of the RVLPFC on emotional regulation of social exclusion. Before the experiment, we classified the participants with a Beck Depression Inventory score of < 3 as low depressive tendency group and those with a score of ≥ 18 as high depression tendency group. Participants also completed a Self-Rating Depression Scale (SDS) on the day of the tDCS experiment. Finally, a total of ninety-eight participants were included. They were randomly divided into anodal tDCS group (including 25 high depressive and 25 low depressive participants) and sham tDCS group. All participants viewed social exclusion images and individual negative images separately in two blocks. In the no-reappraisal condition, participants were instructed to passively view images; in the reappraisal condition, they reappraised images to down-regulate the negative emotional responses. Ratings of negative emotion experience were provided at the end of each trial. There was a significant three-way interaction of group, tDCS type, and task. Simple simple effect analysis showed that in the reappraisal condition, anodal tDCS over the RVLPFC resulted in a decreased negative emotion rating in participants with low-depressive levels, while this task effect (i.e., emotional regulation) was not significant in participants with high-depressive levels. Another three-way interaction was found among image type, tDCS type, and task: when participants were presented with social exclusion images, in the reappraisal condition, anodal tDCS over the RVLPFC resulted in a decreased negative emotion rating in the emotional regulation condition; however this task effect was less significant when participants were presented with individual negative images. Besides the two three-way interactions, this study also observed significant main effects of task, group, and tDCS type, as well as two-way interactions of group and task, tDCS type and task, image type and task, and group and tDCS type. The current findings indicate that the improvement of emotion regulation via tDCS targeting at RVLPFC may be invalid for depressive patients if only one session of tDCS is performed; thus multiple sessions are highly suggested for clinical practice. Furthermore, this is the first tDCS study that compared the RVLFPC role of emotional regulation of social versus individual based negative experiences. The result provides evidence of direct causal relationship between RVLPFC and emotional regulation in the context of social exclusion, highlighting the functional specificity of this brain region on emotional regulation.

The implicit advantage of a high kindness trait in the action control of emotion regulation

SUN Juncai;XUN Fengjiao;LIU Ping;ZHANG Wenhai

Acta Psychologica Sinica,2019,Vol 51,No. 07

【Abstract】 Kindness is a desirable trait to possess, and it is therefore commendable to investigate its link with self-regulation and, in particular, emotion regulation. Implicit processes in general are much more consistent and reliable, as they are triggered automatically and run to completion without conscious effort or monitoring. Therefore, the effect of implicit emotion regulation on psychological health is more important than that of explicit cognitive behavior and ability. Based on an action control perspective, which suggests that the regulatory process for emotions usually includes three sub-tasks, in this study, a set of implicit tasks were designed to investigate the influence of the kindness trait on implicit emotion regulation among undergraduate students with different levels of kindness. The Chinese Personality Scale was used to assess level of kindness. This study surveyed 399 college students, ultimately selecting 60 participants (30 with high scores and 30 with low scores). The results showed that the high-kindness group had significantly higher scores ( M = 90.57, SD = 6.17) than the low-kindness group ( M = 52.28, SD = 3.83), t(58) = 28.70, p < 0.001. A subset of participants was selected based on their kindness scores. They then completed three experimental tasks. First, an emotional Stroop task was conducted to compare the interference effect in color identification caused by emotional valence between the two groups. In this task, the experiment materials were positive and negative emotional words related to interpersonal relationships. The second task used an implicit association test of emotion regulation (ER-IAT) to assess differences in implicit attitude toward emotion regulation between the two groups. The third task was a face visual search task, which used different expressions to determine the efficiency of implicit emotion recovery in the two groups after a negative emotion induction. The results showed that (1) in the first task, the high-kindness group had a significantly longer reaction time to words describing positive interpersonal relationships than to negative words ( p = 0.02). In contrast, the low-kindness participants did not show any difference in reaction times to the two types of words ( p = 0.4). (2) In the second task, the high-kindness group had a significantly higher D value (0.34 ± 0.64) than the low-kindness group (−0.30 ± 0.68) , t(54) = 3.64, p = 0.001. (3) In the third task, although the explicit emotion changes did not differ significantly between the two groups at any time point (all p > 0.05), the reaction times for the high-kindness participants were significantly shorter than those for the low-kindness participants in the face visual search tasks using happy–angry combination matrixes ( p = 0.01). This study presented the link between the personality trait of kindness and implicit emotional responses according to action control theory. These results suggested that (1) the emotional valence of words only interferes with the reaction times of high-kindness participants’ color judgment, and a more significant Stroop interference effect was only found for positive valence words. (2) High-kindness individuals were more inclined to demonstrate a positive implicit attitude in emotion regulation and preferred a deliberate, appropriate control of emotions. In contrast, the low-kindness individuals were more inclined to a negative implicit attitude toward emotion regulation and preferred a direct expression of emotions. (3) The high-kindness individuals shifted their attention away from angry faces more quickly and had greater implicit emotion regulation ability. This study provided experimental evidence that there was an advantage for kindness traits with regard to implicit emotion regulation.

Electrophysiological evidences of different emotion regulation strategies between the avoidant and the secure attachment individuals in the context of lovers’ intimacy

YANG Qingqing;HU Na;CHEN Xu;NIU Juan;ZHAI Jing

Acta Psychologica Sinica,2018,Vol 50,No. 03

【Abstract】 People differ in adult attachment style perceive and regulate their social relationships and emotions in the different ways. Previous researches have investigated the efficiency and preference of emotion regulation strategies among different attachment styles and found that the secure attachment individuals tend to reappraise the context and reinterpret events in a mildly way while the avoidant individuals prefer to deactivate the distressed experience and suppress emotional expression. However, empirical evidences were still lacked when exploring the temporal dynamics of the neural processes. The current study tends to fill this research gap by using event-related potentials (ERP) to investigate how avoidant and secure attachment individuals differ in their two emotion regulation strategies: cognitive reappraisal and expression suppression, in lovers intimate scenarios. Forty-three participants (twenty-two avoidant and twenty-one secure attachment individuals), ages of 18–25 years, participated in the study. The experiment consisted of two sessions. In the first session, participants were instructed to freely view (VIEW) and to respond naturally to the content without trying to alter the upcoming emotions. In the second session, participants were instructed to regulate their emotions either in a reappraisal way or in a suppression way. Results showed that (1) secure attachment individuals reported significantly higher level of pleasure than the avoidant individuals in response to the intimate pictures; (2) secure individuals reported significantly higher level of valence and arousal scores than the avoidant individuals in the emotion regulation condition. ERP analysis further indicated that the mean amplitude of the LPP in response to the intimate pictures in the secure individuals when adopting the cognitive reappraisal strategy was significantly lower than when they in the free-viewing condition in five time windows. However, when using expression suppression strategy, secure individuals showed a significantly reduced LPP amplitude in 300–500, 500–700 ms time windows, compared to the free-viewing condition, and showed increased LPP amplitude in 900–1 100 ms and 1 100–1 300 ms time windows. For avoidant individuals, who used expression suppression strategy, the pictures evoked a significant lower LPP amplitude compared to free-viewing condition in the five time windows. However, there was no significant difference when they used reappraisal strategy compared to free-viewing condition. In sum, there were significant differences both in the subjective emotional measures and electrophysiological responses in response to the lover’s intimacy pictures between the avoidant and secure attachment individuals who used either the cognitive reappraisal or the expression suppression to regulate their positive emotions. At an early phase of positive emotion regulation, secure individuals applied cognitive reappraisal strategy to regulate emotions efficiently or sustainably, while the avoidant individuals used expression suppression strategy. This study enriched the theoretical relationship between the different emotion regulation strategies and attachment styles, and broadens the research width of emotion regulation and attachment, which can further provided theoretical basis for future researches focusing on the emotion regulation.

The Relationship between Emotion Regulation and PTSD/PTG among Adolescents after the Ya'an Earthquake: The Moderating Role of Social Support

ZHOU Xiao;WU Xinchun;ZENG Min;TIAN Yuxin

Acta Psychologica Sinica,2016,Vol 48,No. 08

【Abstract】 It has been documented that posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and posttraumatic growth (PTG) were common and representative posttraumatic reactions. The former can be considered as pathological results after trauma, involving intrusive symptoms, avoidance symptoms, and hyper-arousal symptoms. The latter is reckoned as positive changes following trauma including perceived changes in self, changed sense of relationships with others, and changed philosophy of life. More importantly, PTSD and PTG may co-exist among traumatic survivors. Therefore, some researchers suggested that it was necessary to examine their shared factors, and to compare their determining factors. The aim of this study was to examine and compare the roles of possible factors or processes on the development of PTSD and PTG. A number of studies found that cognitive activities might be important factors for the development of PTSD and PTG, but these studies ignored the effect of emotional activities on PTSD and PTG. Based on the process model of emotion regulation, we found that the emotional activities had a significant effect on PTSD and PTG. However, this theory suggested that there were different emotional regulation modes such as cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression. Previous studies have achieved a consistent conclusion that cognitive reappraisal has a positive role in improving PTG and relieving PTSD, whereas previous studies placed inconsistent views on the role of expressive suppression. Why did studies on the relation between expressive suppression and PTSD/PTG have a mixed conclusion? To make this question clear, we reviewed much relevant literature and proposed that there might be a moderating factor in the relation between expressive suppression and PTSD/PTG. Wherein, social support may have the potential moderating effect. When people perceive high level of social support, their expressive suppression may also result in positive outcomes under stressful surrounding. To examine the relations among emotion regulation, social support, and PTSD/PTG, 315 adolescents were surveyed by using the trauma exposure inventory, the emotion regulation questionnaire, the social support question questionnaire, the posttraumatic growth inventory, and the child PTSD symptom scale. The results found that there were no significant associations between traumatic exposure and cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression, but traumatic exposure had positive and significant effects on both PTSD and PTG. Additionally, after controlling for the traumatic exposures, cognitive reappraisal had a positive effect on PTSD, and a negative effect on PTG; expressive suppression only had a significant and positive effect on PTSD, but not PTG. Moreover, social support had a moderating role in the relations between expressive suppression and PTSD/PTG. Specifically, while under a high level of social support, expressive suppression had a positive and significant effect on PTG, but not PTSD; under a low level of social support, expressive suppression had a positive and significant effect on PTSD, but not PTG.

Effects of Athletes’ Emotion Regulation Strategy and Attentional Control on Attentional Bias in Different Emotion States


Journal of Beijing Sport University,2016,Vol 39,No. 11

【Abstract】 Purpose: This study aimed at exploring the effects of athletes’ emotion regulation strategy and attentional control on attentional bias in different emotion states. Methods: The study used methods of questionnaire and experiments. One hundred and thirty-two college athlete students were participated in this study. Results: 1) Within positive emotion, athletes showed attentional bias on positive information, while athletes showed attentional bias on negative information within negative emotion. 2) Within positive emotion, the attentional bias of the groups of cognitive reappraisal and expression suppression showed on positive information did not have significant difference, and the attentional bias of different attentional control groups did not have significant difference either. 3) Within negative emotion, cognitive reappraisal group showed significantly lower facilitated detection of negative information than expression suppression group, high-attentional control group showed significantly lower difficulty disengaging from negative information than low-attentional control group. 4) In terms of the emotional information which was consistent with athletes' own emotional state, the high-attentional control group showed greater facilitated detection while the low-attentional control group showed greater difficulty disengaging. Conclusions: Within different emotions, athletes show attentional bias on the emotional information which is consistent with their own emotional state. Both emotion regulation strategy and attentional control have effects on athletes' attentional bias, in terms of the facilitated detection of negative information, cognitive reappraisal strategy is lower than expression suppression strategy, while in terms of the difficulty disengaging from negative information, high-attentional control is lower than low-attentional control.

Influence of Emotion Regulation on Decision-Making in Basketball Players: Moderating Effect of Working Memory

FU Ying-ying;CHI Li-zhong

Journal of Beijing Sport University,2016,Vol 39,No. 04

【Abstract】 This research tried to investigate the effect of emotion regulation, visual-spatial working memory and verbal working memory upon the reaction time and accuracy of basketball players in decision-making, based on the cognitive approach and paradigms of cognitive psychology. Forty seven basketball players (18–22 years old) from one sports university participated in the studies. Self-developed software measuring working memory capacity and the accuracy and reaction time of decision-making were used in the investigation. The research consisted of 2 mixed-design experiments. Study 1 adopted mixed-design of emotion regulation (2) × visual–spatial working memory (2) × decision-making task (2) to investigate the influence of emotion regulation and visual–spatial working memory on the quality of decision–making. Study 2 adopted mixed–design of emotion regulation (2) × verbal working memory (2) × decision–making task (2) to investigate the influence of emotion regulation and verbal working memory on the quality of decision-making. The results suggested that visual–spatial working memory moderated the influence of emotion regulation on decision-making. Verbal working memory moderated the influence of emotion regulation on decision-making. The reaction time of high verbal working memory capacity is higher than that of low verbal working memory capacity. Conclusions: Emotion regulation and working memory are important for decision-making in basketball players. Visual–spatial working memory moderates the effect of emotion regulation on decision-making. Emotion regulation moderates the effect of verbal working memory on decision-making.

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