Addressing internal validity concerns in emotion regulation research, the present experiment was primarily designed to determine whether research participants are compliant when asked to use a response-focused strategy during emotional film viewing or whether these individuals incorporate the use of antecedent strategies. The influence of antecedent vs. response-focused strategy use on self-reported affect, physiological, and behavioural data were additionally investigated. A total of 82 healthy undergraduate participants were asked to use one of two response-focused emotion regulation techniques - suppression or exaggeration - while watching a 2 minute positive or negative movie. Following the movie, participants self-reported their affective response to the film, described how they tried to suppress or exaggerate their reaction (i.e., strategies used to regulate their response), and estimated the percentage of time they used each strategy. Representing "antecedent" and "response-focused" techniques, the strategies reported by participants were coded as "cognitive" or "muscular" in nature. Relative to exaggerators, participants in the suppression condition were significantly more likely to self-report using an antecedent (cognitive) strategy for at least some portion of the film (65% vs. 38%). During the suppression condition, greater use of antecedent strategies did not influence sympathetic reactivity to either movie but did result in significantly less self-reported negative affect to the negative movie.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)