Rumination, emotional intensity and emotional clarity

Liel Shlomit Lask, Natali Moyal, Avishai Henik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It has been suggested that a high tendency to ruminate presents a deficient emotion regulation. Past research found that people with high tendency to ruminate show sustained attention for negative stimuli and increased negative thinking, which may result in intensified experiences of negative emotions. Moreover, high level of rumination was associated with low emotional understanding. Accordingly, we hypothesized (1) high ruminators (HR) experience more intense emotional reactions than low ruminators (LR) for negative but not positive emotions, (2) LR have higher emotional clarity than HR, and (3) there would be the same pattern of results for brooding but not for reflective pondering. Participants completed a demographic questionnaire, a rumination response style questionnaire, and the Beck Depression Inventory-II. They also rated emotional intensity and identified emotion type for scene pictures from the CAP-D (Categorized Affective Pictures Database). The highest (HR) and lowest (LR) quarters of ruminators were compared on levels of emotional intensity and emotional clarity. We found HR experienced negative emotions more intensely than LR, with no difference for positive emotions. In contrast to our hypothesis, the two groups did not differ in their emotion understanding. This pattern of results was found for brooding but not for reflective pondering. Our research sheds light on the mechanism underlying rumination and emotion regulation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103242
JournalConsciousness and Cognition
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2021


  • Brooding
  • CAP-D
  • Emotion regulation
  • Emotional clarity
  • Emotional intensity
  • Reflective pondering
  • Rumination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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