Reappraisal (but not distraction) is going to make you sweat: Physiological evidence for self-control effort

Gal Sheppes, Erez Catran, Nachshon Meiran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Previous studies of emotion regulation suggested that reappraisal (construing an emotional event in non-emotional terms) has no cognitive or physiological consequences, but in all these studies, reappraisal was instructed ahead of an emotional situation. The authors' recent work, using behavioral indices, showed that inhibitory self-control resources are challenged when reappraisal starts late during an emotional situation relative to late instruction of distraction (diverting attention through producing neutral thoughts). The present study provides converging physiological evidence in showing that instructing to use reappraisal but not distraction late in a sadness inducing film involved increased skin conductance and decreased finger temperature. Both of these results are indicative of increased sympathetic activation that has been previously found to accompany inhibitory self-control effort.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-96
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Psychophysiology
Volume71
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2009
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cognitive reappraisal
  • Distraction
  • Finger temperature
  • Online emotion regulation
  • Self-control
  • Skin conductance

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