The Attentional Demands of Positive Reappraisal in a Dual Task Paradigm
Metadata[+] Show full item record
Emotion regulation refers to the ability to modulate experienced and expressed emotions. A specific emotion regulation strategy, cognitive reappraisal, has received extensive attention in the literature, as the strategy is widely viewed as adaptive. Cognitive reappraisal effectively alters emotional experiences through a processes of reinterpreting a stimulus, situation or event before an emotion has been fully generated. By changing the meaning of a situation before an emotion fully develops, individuals have the potential to alter the extent to which they feel certain emotions. This strategy has been associated with a wide array of beneficial health and psychological outcomes, and is also used in treating different forms of psychopathology. Despite extensive evidence documenting the effectiveness of cognitive reappraisal, researchers have recently investigated potential negative outcomes associated with this strategy. Notably, researchers have demonstrated that cognitive reappraisal requires attention, and that the attentional demands required to use this strategy can impact performance in other areas. The present study sought to expand on these findings by examining an understudied type of cognitive reappraisal: positive cognitive reappraisal. Furthermore, the present study examined how the attentional demands associated with positive cognitive reappraisal change while the strategy is being implemented as opposed to after implementation. These goals were accomplished by having participants view unpleasant and neutral images, and positively reappraise a subset of unpleasant images while performing a concurrent reaction-time (RT) task, with stimuli for the RT task presented at pseudo-random SOAs during image presentation. Results revealed greater RT during the positive reappraisal condition compared to the negative image viewing condition, and this difference changed depending on when the RT stimuli were presented. A final exploratory question examined the extent to which self-reported worry might interfere with task performance, with results revealing no impact of worry on the pattern of RT observed across conditions. The results of this study demonstrated that engaging in positive cognitive reappraisal can interfere with the ability to respond to other environmental stimuli, suggesting the strategy requires attentional resources, and that the attentional resources required to use the strategy change during the regulatory process.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- Review of the literature -- Methodology -- Results -- Discussion -- Appendix