Spontaneous Emotion Regulation During Evaluated Speaking Tasks: Associations with Negative Affect, Anxiety Expression, Memory, and Physiological Responding

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In these studies, the correlates of spontaneously using expressive suppression and cognitive reappraisal during stressful speeches were examined. Spontaneous emotion regulation means that there were no instructions of how to regulate emotions during the speech. Instead, participants indicated after the speech to what extent they used self-motivated expressive suppression or reappraisal during the task. The results show that suppression is associated with less anxiety expression, greater physiological responding, and less memory for the speech while having no impact on negative affect. In contrast, reappraisal has no impact on physiology and memory while leading to less expression and affect. Taken together, spontaneous emotion regulation in active coping tasks has similar consequences as experimentally induced emotion regulation in passive tasks.

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