تنظیم اتوماتیک احساسات در هنگام تحریک خشم
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|33310||2007||14 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||11141 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Volume 43, Issue 5, September 2007, Pages 698–711
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.
Emotional impulses, especially potentially destructive ones such as anger, regularly present us with the question of how we ought to respond to them. Should we openly express them or attempt to control them? On the one hand, frequent expression of anger has costs for individuals’ well-being, social functioning, and physical health (Baumeister and Exline, 2000, Booth-Kewley and Friedman, 1987, Mayer and Salovey, 1995 and Tavris, 1984), suggesting that it is important to regulate negative emotions. On the other hand, emotion regulation often seems to come at a price for individuals’ well-being, social and cognitive functioning, and even physical health (e.g., Bonanno et al., 2004, Gross and John, 2003, Muraven et al., 1998 and Polivy, 1998), suggesting that emotion regulation may not be a satisfactory solution either. Ideally, there would be a way for individuals to exert the emotion control that they need without “paying a price.” Is that possible? One way to address this question is to re-examine how emotion regulation has been conceptualized in the past. Thus far, interest in emotion regulation has centered principally on deliberate, response-focused emotion regulation (e.g., Bonanno et al., 2004, Gross and Levenson, 1997, Muraven et al., 1998 and Wegner et al., 1993), whose costs may arise from the conscious effort involved in suppressing emotion-related responses. Less attention has been given to automatic (largely unconscious) regulatory processes such as those involved in overlearned habits or culturally transmitted norms (e.g., Cohen, 1997, Fitzsimons and Bargh, 2004 and Gollwitzer, 1999). This is unfortunate, because such automatic regulatory processes might operate with less cost to the individual, as they are executed relatively effortlessly, and might thus provide a solution to the dilemma of how negative emotional impulses can be managed. However, at present, only correlational evidence is available to support this hypothesis ( Jackson et al., 2003 and Mauss et al., 2006). In the present studies, we use an experimental manipulation to test whether automatic emotion regulation is an effective means of reducing anger. Because the literatures on emotion regulation (e.g., Davidson et al., 2000, Gross, 1998 and Thompson, 1994) and on automaticity (e.g., Bargh, 1994) are both fraught with conceptual complexities (e.g., Cole et al., 2004 and Gross, 1998), it is essential to clarify our terms at the outset. We use the term “emotion regulation” to refer to the modification of any aspect of an emotional response, including experience, physiology, and expressive behavior (cf. Eisenberg and Spinrad, 2004, Goldsmith and Davidson, 2004, Gross, 1998 and Gross and John, 2003). In the present context, our focus is on processes that reduce one or more aspects of emotion. “Automatic” emotion regulation includes two types of processes: first, implicitly (largely unconsciously) represented ideas or goals that individuals have regarding emotion regulation, and, second, automatic (largely unconscious and effortless) emotion regulation behaviors that individuals engage in during emotional situations (cf. Bargh and Chartrand, 2000 and Bargh et al., 2001). It is likely that emotion regulation goals prompt emotion regulation behavior (e.g., Bargh et al., 2001 and Shah and Kruglanski, 2003). However, because this cannot be presumed, we empirically test whether our priming manipulation is associated with observable responses to an emotional situation. To set the stage for our studies, we first review the repressive coping literature and the automaticity literature which, as we will see, offer contradictory perspectives on the likely impact of automatic emotion regulation. This review suggests a number of limitations in the existing research that make it difficult to come to firm conclusions about the consequences of automatic emotion regulation. These limitations motivate two studies, in which we experimentally manipulate automatic emotion regulation using a priming technique, and then assess affective responses during an experimental anger provocation. Results from these studies raise the intriguing possibility that automatic emotion control relative to emotion expression leads to effective reduction of feelings of anger but is not accompanied by the experiential “cost” of negative emotion experience (e.g., shame or sadness) or the cardiovascular “cost” of heightened levels of maladaptive cardiovascular activation. The repressive coping literature: Automatic emotion regulation is costly As formulated by Freud, defensive inhibition of negative emotional experiences, or repression, is a form of automatic emotion control that is motivated by the individual’s need to remain unaware of emotions that are intolerably painful or incompatible with the ideal self ( Freud, 1930/1961). Freud took a negative view of this type of emotion regulation, postulating that this defensive “work” would come at the cost of expenditure of “psychic energy.” More recently, repression has been examined empirically, and quantitative measures of repressive tendencies have been developed (e.g., Byrne et al., 1965, Erdelyi, 2001, Paulhus et al., 1997 and Weinberger, 1995). When tested in laboratory inductions of negative emotions such as stress or frustration, participants high in repression tend to report experiencing lesser negative emotion, but exhibit impaired cognitive and social skills, as well as greater physiological reactivity (e.g., Asendorpf and Scherer, 1983, Brosschot and Janssen, 1998, Schwartz, 1995 and Weinberger, 1995). Together, these studies suggest that automatic emotion regulation is associated with lesser negative emotion experience, but that this reduction in negative emotion comes at a cost. The automaticity literature: Automatic emotion regulation is cost-free In contrast with the literature on repressive coping, recent research on automaticity suggests that automatic emotion regulation may operate at little cost. These studies have shown that complex judgments, social behaviors, and even the pursuit of higher-level goals (e.g., to cooperate with another person in a competitive game) can be executed automatically (e.g., Bargh et al., 2001, Bodenhausen et al., 2003, Kihlstrom, 1987 and Nosek et al., 2005). Three features of automatic goal pursuit suggest that if automatic emotion regulation operates in a similar fashion to automatic goal pursuit, one would expect it to be effective for controlling feelings and behaviors, and to occur with little or no psychological and physiological cost. First, automatic goal pursuit can occur without subjective awareness, and thereby may consume little or no attentional capacity or subjective effort (Bargh et al., 2001, Chartrand and Jefferis, 2003, Fitzsimons and Bargh, 2004 and Koole and Jostmann, 2004). Second, automatic processes presumably are activated quickly and operate efficiently (Bargh, 1994, Kihlstrom, 1987, Webb and Sheeran, 2003 and Wilson and Schooler, 1991). Automatic emotion control might thus be antecedent to the emotional response, effectively interrupting the development of an emotional impulse before it unfolds and resulting in adaptive experiential and physiological responding ( Gross, 1998). Third, automatic emotion control might avoid some of the “side effects” of deliberate emotion control that result from one’s conscious awareness of controlling one’s emotions. Such side effects of conscious emotion control might emerge from individuals feeling “inauthentic” (not expressing feelings goes against North American notions of expressing oneself; Gross & John, 2003), or from “ironic effects” of control (consciously focusing on the anger to down regulate it might make it more salient, leading to more anger; Wegner, 1994). By avoiding conscious awareness of emotion control, thus, automatic emotion control should presumably also avoid its negative concomitants. Automatic emotion regulation: Costly or cost-free? While the literature on repressive coping suggests that automatic emotion regulation should be costly, the literature on automaticity predicts that automatic emotion regulation should be cost-free. How can we explain these two literatures’ opposite conclusions? One explanation is that both literatures contain limitations that make it difficult to come to any firm conclusions about automatic emotion regulation. Three such limitations of prior studies stand out. First, automatic emotion regulation mainly has been investigated in correlational designs (e.g., Jackson et al., 2003, Koole and Jostmann, 2004, Mauss et al., 2006 and Weinberger, 1995). This makes it difficult to derive causal accounts about the effects of automatic emotion regulation. Second, evidence from the correlational studies is tentative, because it has been difficult to validly and reliably measure individual differences in automatic emotion control. Existing measures that tap automatic emotion regulation and related constructs (e.g., repression, defensiveness, or alexithymia) (1) often rely on explicit self-reports, which might be inappropriate to assess automatic processes (e.g., in the case of alexithymia; Bagby, Parker, & Taylor, 1994), and (2) often have relatively low face validity (e.g., in the case of repression, a combination of high social desirability and low self-reported trait anxiety; cf. Holmes, 1990). Third, few studies have assessed the effects of automatic emotion control in intense, ecologically valid emotional situations, while measuring key affective responses (including experience, behavior, and physiological responding). The present research The limitations outlined above draw into sharp relief how little is known about automatic emotion regulation. In the present studies, we sought to address two key questions. First, can automatic emotion regulation be experimentally manipulated? Second, what are the affective consequences of automatic emotion regulation? In Study 1, we experimentally manipulated automatic emotion regulation by priming emotion control versus emotion expression with an adaptation of the Sentence Unscrambling Task (Srull & Wyer, 1979). After the priming task, anger was induced in the laboratory, and participants’ anger experience was measured to assess the extent to which the primes influenced anger experience. In Study 2, we used a similar anger provocation to assess the effects of priming emotion control versus emotion expression on anger experience, more general negative emotion experience, and cardiovascular responses. The goal of Study 2 was to establish whether automatic emotion regulation would reduce anger experience without the ‘cost’ of greater negative emotion or maladaptive physiological responding. Study 1: Assessing effects of priming emotion regulation on anger experience and behavior An adaptation of the Sentence Unscrambling Task (Srull & Wyer, 1979) was chosen to manipulate automatic emotion regulation for two reasons. First, it implicitly activates (primes) concepts and goals, a feature important to the conclusion that automatic rather than deliberate emotion control was manipulated. Second, this task seemed to be a promising candidate for manipulating a quite abstract goal such as emotion regulation, because versions of this task have been used to prime other types of “high-level” goals (e.g., Bargh et al., 1996 and Bargh et al., 2001). Careful debriefing allowed us to conclude that participants were not aware of the nature of the primes, ensuring that the regulatory goals were really activated implicitly. Together, these features make the Sentence Unscrambling Task an ideal candidate for priming emotion regulatory goals. An anger provocation was chosen as the emotional context in which to examine the effects of automatic emotion regulation for two reasons. First, anger is an emotion that frequently arises in everyday life (e.g., Stearns & Stearns, 1986). Second, anger is seen as a negative emotion that must, at times, be controlled (e.g., Ayduk et al., 2002, Davidson et al., 2000 and Timmers et al., 1998) and at times be expressed (Stearns and Stearns, 1986 and Tiedens, 2000). Anger thus seems to be an ideal context for studying the activation of emotion regulatory processes. To minimize confounds due to the influence of impression management, limited introspective insight, and memory biases (e.g., Feldman Barrett, 1997), we chose a standardized laboratory anger provocation rather than descriptions of anger-provoking events. Because anger-related emotion regulatory goals appear to apply with particular force to women (anger expression is seen as more inappropriate for women than for men; Kring, 2000 and Timmers et al., 1998), and to eliminate variance due to gender differences, only female participants were used. To assess the effects of the primes, anger experience was assessed via self-reports. Our goal was to test whether emotion regulation primes would affect emotional responses to an anger provocation.