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Emotion regulation meets emotional attention: the influence of emotion suppression on emotional attention depends on the nature of the distracters

Vogt, J. and De Houwer, J. (2014) Emotion regulation meets emotional attention: the influence of emotion suppression on emotional attention depends on the nature of the distracters. Emotion, 14 (5). pp. 840-845. ISSN 1931-1516

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1037/a0037399

Abstract/Summary

Recent evidence has suggested a crucial role of people’s current goals in attention to emotional information. This asks for research investigating how and what kinds of goals shape emotional attention. The present study investigated how the goal to suppress a negative emotional state influences attention to emotion-congruent events. After inducing disgust, we instructed participants to suppress all feelings of disgust during a subsequent dot probe task. Attention to disgusting images was modulated by the sort of distracter that was presented in parallel with disgusting imagery. When disgusting images were presented together with neutral images, emotion suppression was accompanied by a tendency to attend to disgusting images. However, when disgusting images were shown with positive images that allow coping with disgust (i.e., images representing cleanliness), attention tended away from disgusting images and toward images representing cleanliness. These findings show that emotion suppression influences the allocation of attention but that the successful avoidance of emotion-congruent events depends on the availability of effective distracters.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
ID Code:37165
Publisher:American Psychological Association
Publisher Statement:This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.

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