The effects of acceptance, reappraisal and suppression strategies on psychophysiological reactivity to emotionally provocative stimuli in the laboratory
The present study examined the degree to which acceptance, reappraisal, or suppression based strategies are associated with changes in heart rate, eyeblink startle magnitude, Event-Related Potentials (ERPs), and self-reports of subjective experience in a sample of college undergraduates. Participants were randomly assigned to use one of these strategies during an associative learning task that contained stimuli that signaled either threat or safety from a noxious stimulus as well as during exposure to highly arousing pleasant and unpleasant images. Participants in the reappraisal and suppression groups displayed greater eyeblink startle magnitudes during the emotion induction procedures compared with participants in the acceptance and control groups. No group differences were found with respect to heart rate or ERPs in response to the emotion inductions. Compared with participants assigned to the acceptance and control conditions, participants assigned to the reappraisal and suppression conditions rated unpleasant images as being less unpleasant; however, the groups did not differ in arousal ratings. Participants did not differ in their ratings of discomfort during the associative learning task, nor did they differ in their valence and arousal ratings for pleasant pictures. Findings suggest a possible dissociation of cognition and physiological reactivity for participants using reappraisal and suppression strategies to regulate mood and affect.
0989: Physiological psychology