Effortful inhibition of affective responses to pictures: Effects on central and peripheral physiology
AuthorUrry, Heather Leigh
AdvisorAllen, John J. B.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractIt has been suggested that emotion regulatory extremes may play a role in psychopathology and physical health. In a study whose primary aim was to shed light on the response-dampening end of the regulatory continuum, measures of autonomic and scalp-recorded electrical activity were taken while 60 female undergraduates engaged in effortful inhibition of responses to disgusting, happy, and neutral images. Resting data were collected followed by passive viewing of a first set of affective images. For a second set of images, instructions were provided either to suppress one's outward expressions of emotion (Suppress), to reappraise the meaning of the stimuli to reduce emotional experience (Reappraise), or to simply view the pictures carefully (Control). There was very little support for the prediction that the Suppress group would show greater autonomic arousal compared to the other two groups, possibly due to insufficient statistical power. Modest support was found for the prediction that Suppress participants would show greater activation than the Control group in the frontal and anterior temporal regions, a finding that was limited to the disgusting images. Although greater activation was expected for the Suppress compared to the Reappraise group, there was no such difference for these disgusting images. For neutral pictures, Reappraise participants unexpectedly showed greater anterior activation compared to Suppress and Control participants. Independent of stimulus valence, Reappraise participants evidenced a shift towards greater relative right-sided activation at the frontal pole compared to the other two groups. Finally, individual differences in resting prefrontal asymmetry predicted the ability to inhibit positive affect, a relationship that was moderated by group assignment. Left-sided activation in the midfrontal region was associated with greater decreases in zygomatic ("smile") activity in Reappraise participants. For Suppress participants, on the other hand, left-sided activation in this same region was associated with greater increases in zygomatic activity. No such effects were found for disgusting or neutral pictures. This study suggests that the frontal regions are relevant to effortful affective inhibition. Furthermore, the strategies that are selected to effect such inhibition may be differentially effective in the context of stable individual differences in affective style.
Degree ProgramGraduate College