Experiential, expressive, and physiological effects of positive and negative emotion regulation goals while reappraising amusing stimuli
Kreibig, Sylvia D.Department of Psychology, Stanford University, 450 Jane Stanford Way, Bldg 420, Stanford, 94305, CA, USA
Samson, Andrea C.
Faculty of Psychology, UniDistance Suisse, University Campus Brig, Schinerstr. 18–20, 3900 Brig, Switzerland. Institute of Special Education, University of Fribourg, Rue Saint-Pierre Canisius 21, 1700 Fribourg, Switzerland
Gross, James J.Department of Psychology, Stanford University, 450 Jane Stanford Way, Bldg 420, Stanford, 94305, CA, USA.
International Journal of Psychophysiology. - Elsevier BV. - 2022, vol. 178, p. 71-89
We examined whether positive and negative emotion regulation (ER) goals while cognitively reappraising amusing stimuli differentially engage positive (PA) and negative affect (NA) systems. Fortyeight women watched 20–30s amusing film clips. They were instructed to either respond naturally (no ER goal) or emphasize the film clips’ positive (positive ER goal) or negative (negative ER goal) aspects in their interpretation. We measured PA and NA system activity on experiential, expressive, and
physiological response channels through self-reported amusement and disgust, electromyography of zygomaticus major and corrugator supercilii, and autonomic nervous system reactivity from respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) and pre-ejection period (PEP). Natural viewing (no ER goal) of amusing clips increased self-reported amusement (and to a lesser degree disgust), zygomaticus reactivity, and RSA. Compared to no and negative ER goals, reappraising the amusing clips with a positive ER goal decreased corrugator reactivity, decreasing negative emotional expression. Compared to no and positive ER goals, reappraising the amusing clips with a negative ER goal decreased self-reported amusement and zygomaticus reactivity and increased self-reported disgust and corrugator reactivity, decreasing positive and increasing negative emotional experience and expression. We conclude that positive and negative ER goals while reappraising amusing stimuli differentially engaged PA and NA systems: The positive ER goal engaged withdrawal of the expressive NA system, whereas the negative ER goal engaged reciprocal NA–PA system activation on experiential and expressive response channels.