Choosing an emotion regulation strategy - The importance of emotional category

Natali Moyal, Liel Stelmach-Lask, Gideon Emanuel Anholt, Avishai Henik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Recent studies have focused on stimuli characteristics that influence emotion regulation choice. A consistent finding concerns the relation between emotional intensity and the choice between reappraisal and distraction. Moreover, reappraisal affordances were found to influence emotion regulation choice. However, none of the studies assessed the impact of discrete emotions. The current study constitutes a preliminary investigation of the influence of specific emotions evoked by a stimulus, above and beyond emotional intensity and reappraisal affordances. Methods: We used the emotion regulation choice task designed by Sheppes et al., (2011) with two changes: (1) we used pictures from the Categorized Affective Pictures Database (CAP-D; Moyal et al., 2018); (2) we had three blocks in the task. Results: We replicated the results regarding the influence of emotional intensity. Reappraisal affordances had no influence on emotion regulation choice. Importantly, we found that distinct emotions result in differential proportions of reappraisal choice, even when controlling for emotional intensity. Specifically, when the emotion evoked by stimuli was fear or sadness, participants preferred reappraisal in low intensity and distraction in high intensity conditions. When the emotion evoked was disgust, participants chose to use more distraction regardless of emotional intensity. Limitation: We had a small number of pictures. To overcome this, we used three repeating blocks. We also had a relatively small sample with only a few males. Hence, these preliminary findings should be interpreted with caution. Conclusion: Results might suggest that different emotions are associated with different motivation to use reappraisal, regardless of other stimuli characteristics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100498
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders Reports
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2023


  • Distraction
  • Emotion regulation
  • Emotional category
  • Emotional intensity
  • Reappraisal affordance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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