See What You Think: Reappraisal Modulates Behavioral and Neural Responses to Social Stimuli

Jens Blechert*, Gal Sheppes, Carolina Tella, Hants Williams, James J. Gross

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The social environment requires people to quickly form contextually appropriate social evaluations. Models of social cognition suggest that this ability depends on the interaction of automatic and controlled evaluative systems. However, controlled processes, such as reappraisal of an initial response, have rarely been studied in the context of social evaluation. In the two studies reported here, participants reappraised or simply observed angry or neutral faces. In Study 1, reappraisal modulated evaluations of angry faces on explicit as well as implicit behavioral levels. In Study 2, reappraisal altered both early and late phases of evaluative electrocortical processing. These studies suggest that controlled processes, such as reappraisal, can quickly and substantially modulate early evaluative processes in the context of biologically significant social stimuli.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)346-353
Number of pages8
JournalPsychological Science
Volume23
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2012

Keywords

  • cognitive appraisal
  • emotional control
  • evoked potentials
  • facial expressions
  • social cognition

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