Title of Project

Electrophysiological and Neuropsychological Correlates of Emotion Regulation

Researcher Information

Anita Singh

Project Type

Event

Start Date

2011 12:00 AM

End Date

2011 12:00 AM

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Electrophysiological and Neuropsychological Correlates of Emotion Regulation

Avoidance or escape from emotionally negative events is associated with poor psychological health outcomes. Importantly, humans can influence how emotions are experienced or expressed through emotion regulation (ER) strategies. ER strategies have been shown to alter the expression of emotions in individual with differing levels of experiential avoidance (as indexed by the Acceptance and Action Questionnaire, or AAQ). Here, we are comparing a control group of participants who do not show emotional avoidance with a group of participants who score high on emotional avoidance. To that end, we are assessing neurophysiological and behavioral responses to emotional vs. non emotional pictures across three separate emotion regulation strategies (no-regulation, suppress emotion & up-regulate emotion). We are employing electroencephalographic (EEG) event related brain potentials (ERPs) and self-report measure of emotional intensity. We hypothesize that compared to the control group, the emotional avoidance group will show a greater ability to suppress and a decreased ability to up-regulate emotional response to negative stimuli. These predictions would be reflected in a blunted ERP measure of attention to emotional stimuli in the emotional avoidance group compared to the control group. We further predict that the behavioral measure will show blunted emotional response in the emotional avoidance group. Findings from this study will show that avoidance emotion regulation strategies not only blunt behavioral responses, but also result in neurophysiological indices of decreased emotional responding. Results will also show whether adults with a high escape avoidance trait are able to regulate their emotional reactivity in an adaptive manner.