Emotion regulation and memory: individual differences in the influence of emotion regulation on memory

Chipchase, Susan and Hall, Charlotte (2012) Emotion regulation and memory: individual differences in the influence of emotion regulation on memory. In: CERE 2012, 2-5 May 2012, University of Kent at Canterbury.

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Abstract

People regulate their emotions in everyday life to varying extents (Gross & John, 2003). Emotion regulation has been found to influence memory, although it has been argued that the effects are due to stimulus elaboration rather than changes in emotional arousal (Dillon et al., 2007). We investigated whether individual differences in emotion regulation may influence how emotion affects memory. We gave participants instructions at encoding to reappraise photographic scenes either enhancing, decreasing or maintaining their emotions. The degree of successful emotional regulation was measured through changes in physiological arousal (galvanic skin response and heart rate) and subjective ratings of emotional experience. After a one-day delay free recall was increased for negative arousing photographs when participants had enhanced their emotions, but there was no significant effect of a decrease in emotions. This suggests that changes in emotional arousal may be directly influencing memory, rather than through a process of stimulus elaboration. However, when analysis was based only on items where participants managed to effect successful emotional change appropriate to the emotion regulation instructions, any influences of emotion regulation on memory for negative stimuli were removed. In this instance, when individual differences in ability to successfully regulate emotions are taken into account the findings suggest that emotion regulation does not overpower other sources of emotional influence on memory. These preliminary findings suggest the importance of taking into account individual differences when researching the complexities of how emotion regulation and emotion affect memory.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Presentation)
Additional Information:People regulate their emotions in everyday life to varying extents (Gross & John, 2003). Emotion regulation has been found to influence memory, although it has been argued that the effects are due to stimulus elaboration rather than changes in emotional arousal (Dillon et al., 2007). We investigated whether individual differences in emotion regulation may influence how emotion affects memory. We gave participants instructions at encoding to reappraise photographic scenes either enhancing, decreasing or maintaining their emotions. The degree of successful emotional regulation was measured through changes in physiological arousal (galvanic skin response and heart rate) and subjective ratings of emotional experience. After a one-day delay free recall was increased for negative arousing photographs when participants had enhanced their emotions, but there was no significant effect of a decrease in emotions. This suggests that changes in emotional arousal may be directly influencing memory, rather than through a process of stimulus elaboration. However, when analysis was based only on items where participants managed to effect successful emotional change appropriate to the emotion regulation instructions, any influences of emotion regulation on memory for negative stimuli were removed. In this instance, when individual differences in ability to successfully regulate emotions are taken into account the findings suggest that emotion regulation does not overpower other sources of emotional influence on memory. These preliminary findings suggest the importance of taking into account individual differences when researching the complexities of how emotion regulation and emotion affect memory.
Keywords:Emotion regulation, Memory
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C850 Cognitive Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C830 Experimental Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:5598
Deposited By: Susan Chipchase
Deposited On:18 May 2012 14:19
Last Modified:18 May 2012 14:19

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