Emotion Regulation Knowledge

Greenaway, K. (University of Melbourne), Kalokerinos, E. K. (University of Newcastle)

Decades of research has built a solid scientific understanding of the impact of emotion regulation strategies on emotion outcomes. Researchers are the generators and gatekeepers of this understanding; thus, we do not know the degree to which laypeople have access to this knowledge. A lay approach can be used to build better emotion regulation interventions, for example by targeting dimensions on which lay knowledge differs from what is indicated by theory. We present a new tool for assessing emotion regulation knowledge about two well-understood strategies: cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression. Data from 2,400 participants revealed consistent patterns: on average, people were more knowledgeable about reappraisal than suppression, although this main effect differed across emotion outcomes. People were more knowledgeable about how reappraisal shapes emotion experience and the time-point at which this strategy should be used. In contrast, people were more knowledgeable about how suppression shapes emotion expression and its impact on social outcomes. Knowledge did not differ for regulation of positive vs. negative emotion. This work places the responsibility—and right—of forwarding this research agenda on the shoulders of academics and laypeople alike, allowing us to develop a comprehensive understanding of human emotion regulation with theoretical and applied relevance.

Twitter: @katiehgreenaway

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Feeling Social Symposium