Beliefs about emotion’s malleability influence state emotion regulation
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The current study examined how manipulating information about whether emotions are fixed or malleable influences the extent to which individuals engage in different emotion regulation strategies. We hypothesized that fixed, compared to malleable, emotion beliefs would produce less effort invested in emotion regulation. Participants were randomly assigned to experimental conditions emphasizing that emotions are malleable or fixed, and then completed an autobiographical negative emotion induction. Participants reported seven different emotion regulation strategies they used during the recall task. Participants in the fixed emotion condition, compared to those in the malleable emotion condition, reported engaging significantly less in self-blame and perspective-taking. They engaged somewhat, but not significantly, less in all of the other strategies, except acceptance. These results suggest that emotion malleability beliefs can be experimentally manipulated and systematically influence subsequent emotion regulatory behavior. Implications for affective science and mental health are discussed.
KeywordsEmotion regulation Emotion beliefs Negative emotions Psychopathology
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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