Individuals frequently have to regulate their emotions, especially negative ones, to function successfully. However, deliberate emotion regulation can have significant costs for the individual. Are there less costly ways to achieve emotion regulatory goals? In two studies, we test the hypothesis that more automatic types of emotion regulation might provide the benefits of deliberate emotion regulation without the costs. Study 1 introduces a priming technique that manipulates automatic emotion regulation. Using this priming technique, we show that relative to priming emotion expression, priming emotion control leads to less anger experience in response to a laboratory anger provocation. Study 2 examines the experiential and physiological consequences of automatic emotion regulation. Results suggest that relative to priming emotion expression, priming emotion control reduces negative emotion experience without maladaptive cardiovascular responding. Together, these findings suggest that automatic emotion regulation may provide an effective means of controlling powerful negative emotions.
Mauss, Iris, Crystal Reeck, and James Gross. "Automatic emotion regulation during an anger provocation." Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 43 (2007): 698-711.
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