Choosing Between Emotion Regulation Strategies to Appear Cool, Calm and Collected: Does Emotional Stimulus Intensity Matter?

Dorota Daniela Szczygieł, Wiesław Baryła


Accepted for printing; in progress

The present study examined the effect of negative emotional stimulus intensity (low versus high) on the choice of emotion regulation (ER) strategy when a person wants to control their emotional expression, and the impact of this choice on how emotional stimuli are remembered. The effects of emotional intensity on the choice of ER strategy were examined in two studies. Participants (unaware of differences in the intensity of stimuli) were asked to view images inducing negative emotions of high and low intensity, and to choose which strategy (cognitive reappraisal or expressive suppression) they would use in order to control their emotional expression. In Study 2, the memory of the events that transpired during the period of ER was tested. Consistent with the prediction, participants chose reappraisal over suppression when confronted with low-intensity stimuli. In contrast, when confronted with high-intensity stimuli, participants chose suppression over reappraisal. The results of Study 2 revealed that memory accuracy was higher for those images that participants chose to use reappraisal over suppression.


emotion regulation; suppression; reappraisal; choice; intensity; memory

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Roczniki Psychologiczne/Annals of Psychology

ISSN: 1507-7888   e-ISSN: 2451-4306

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