The Social-Personality Colloquium Series (Brownbag) was pleased to feature Dr. Brett Ford who gave a talk titled: Striving to Feel Good: The Costs and Benefits of Emotion Regulation
For more information, visit Dr. Ford's website or contact her directly.
Dr. Brett Ford
ABSTRACT: Emotion regulation has been shown to have many benefits across affective, cognitive, social and even physiological outcomes. In spite of the wide-spread benefits of emotion regulation, however, emotion regulation may also have unintended negative consequences within particular contexts. One particularly salient context is the realm of political action (e.g., volunteering, donating, protesting), which can be fuelled by negative emotions. Because people often strive to repair such emotions, effective forms of emotion regulation (e.g., cognitive reappraisal) could have the unintended consequence of hindering action. We tested this hypothesis using correlational, longitudinal, and experimental designs in six samples of Clinton voters after the 2016 U.S. general election. Overall, we found that individuals who used cognitive reappraisal to cope with their feelings about politics were less likely to engage in political action. An indirect effect was also observed such that cognitive reappraisal predicted lower negative emotion which in turn accounted for lower intentions to engage in political action. These results suggest that effective emotion regulation like reappraisal may be individually beneficial in the short-run by helping restore emotional well-being after upsetting political events but may also be collectively costly in the long-run by reducing the potential for productive political action.