10 Mart 2012 Cumartesi

Emotion Regulation

My quotations from:
Emotion Regulation: Conceptual Foundations Date: 3/22/06
James J. Gross (Stanford Uni), Ross A Thompson (Uni of California, Davis)
Emotion Regulation and Related Processes
emotion regulation refers to the heterogeneous set of processes by which emotions are themselves regulated. Emotion regulatory processes may be automatic or controlled, conscious or unconscious, and may have their effects at one or more points in the emotion generative process

Because emotions are multi-componential processes that unfold over time, emotion regulation involves changes in “emotion dynamics” (Thompson, 1990), or the latency, rise time, magnitude, duration, and offset of responses in behavioral, experiential, or physiological domains. Emotion regulation may dampen, intensify, or simply maintain emotion, depending on an individual’s goals. Emotion regulation also may change the degree to which emotion response components cohere as the emotion unfolds, such as when large changes in emotion experience and physiological responding occur in the absence of facial behavior.

One as-yet unresolved issue is whether emotion regulation refers to intrinsic processes (Fred regulates his own emotions: emotion regulation in self), to extrinsic processes (Sally regulates Bob’s emotions: emotion regulation in other), or to both. In general, researchers in the adult literature typically focus on intrinsic processes (Gross, 1998). By contrast, researchers in the developmental literature focus more on extrinsic processes.

Core Features of Emotion Regulation
Emotion Regulation and Related Constructs
..., we see emotion regulation as subordinate to the broader construct of affect regulation. Under this broad heading fall all manner of efforts to influence our valenced responses (Westen, 1994).
... affect regulation includes (among other things) four overlapping constructs: (a) coping, (b) emotion regulation, (c) mood regulation, and (d) psychological defenses.
Emotion Regulation Strategies
...These five points represent five families of emotion regulation processes: situation selection, situation modification, attentional deployment, cognitive change, and response modulation (Gross, 1998b).

...the first four emotion regulation families may be considered antecedent-focused, in that they occur before appraisals give rise to full-blown emotional response tendencies, and may be contrasted with response-focused emotion regulation, which occurs after the responses are generated (Gross & Munoz, 1995).

Situation Selection
The most forward-looking approach to emotion regulation is situation selection. This type of emotion regulation involves taking actions that make it more (or less) likely that one will end up in a situation one expects will give rise to desirable (or undesirable) emotions.

Another barrier to effective situation selection is appropriately weighing short-term benefits of emotion regulation versus longer-term costs. For example, a shy person may feel much better in the short term if she avoids social situations. However, this short-term relief may
come at the cost of longer term social isolation.

Situation Modification
Potentially emotion-eliciting situations – such as the approach of the terrifying barber in
the example above – do not inevitably lead to emotional responses. After all, one can always ask to wait until a less frightening barber is free. Such efforts to directly modify the situation so as to alter its emotional impact constitute a potent form of emotion regulation.

Attentional Deployment
Situation selection and situation modification help shape the individual’s situation. However, it also is possible to regulate emotions without actually changing the environment. Situations have many aspects, and attentional deployment refers to how individuals direct their attention within a given situation in order to influence their emotions.

Distraction focuses attention on different aspects of the situation, or moves attention away from the situation altogether, such as when an infant shifts its gaze from the emotioneliciting
stimulus to decrease stimulation (Rothbart, this volume; Stifter & Moyer, 1991).

Distraction also may involve changing internal focus, such as when individuals invoke thoughts or memories that are inconsistent with the undesirable emotional state (Watts, this volume), or when an actor calls to mind an emotional incident in order to portray that emotion convincingly.

Concentration draws attention to emotional features of a situation. Wegner and Bargh (1997) have termed this “controlled starting” of emotion. When attention is repetitively directed to one’s feelings and their consequences, this is referred to as rumination. Ruminating on sad
events leads to longer and more severe depressive symptoms (Just & Alloy, 1997; Nolen-
Hoeksema, 1993).

Cognitive Change
Even after a situation has been selected, modified, and attended to, an emotional response
is by no means a foregone conclusion. Emotion requires that percepts be imbued with meaning and that individuals evaluate their capacity to manage the situation. As described above, appraisal theorists have described the cognitive steps needed to transform a percept into something that elicits emotion. Cognitive change refers to changing how one appraises the situation one is in so as to alter its emotional significance, either by changing how one thinks about the situation or about one’s capacity to manage the demands it poses.

One form of cognitive change that has received particular attention is reappraisal (Gross,
2002; John & Gross, this volume; Ochsner & Gross, this volume). This type of cognitive change involves changing a situation’s meaning in a way that alters its emotional impact. Leading subjects to reappraise negatively valenced films has been shown to result in decreased negative emotion experience.

Response Modulation
In contrast with other emotion regulatory processes, response modulation occurs late in
the emotion generative process, after response tendencies have been initiated. Response
modulation refers to influencing physiological, experiential, or behavioral responding as directly as possible. Attempts at regulating the physiological and experiential aspects of emotion are common.

Another common form of response modulation involves regulating emotion-expressive
behavior (Gross, John, & Richards, in press). A person may wish to regulate expressive behavior for many reasons, ranging from an assessment that it would be best to hide one’s true feelings from another person (e.g., hiding one’s fear when standing up to a bully) to direct prompts from a parent (e.g., in the barbershop example).