Emotion- expressive suppression is not only able to reduce negative emotion effectively, but also dampens the negative emotion faster, claims a new study.
The study provides an important perspective for the solution of a long-lasting issue of public concern: how to reduce the impact of negative emotion efficiently, especially in urgent and demanding situations where one needs to dampen socially inappropriate emotion such as rage and impulse very quickly.
Authors hypothesized that expressive suppression may be similar to or even better than, reappraisal in regulating the emotional impacts of negative stimuli in Chinese people.
The study showed that cognitive reappraisal could effectively reduce the negative emotion experiences and emotion-related physiological responses. However, different from European-American cultures that encouraged free expression of emotion, Chinese culture was characterized by the collectivistic cultural norms, which highlight relational harmony and self-discipline. Thus, people from East-Asian nations may be culturally trained to suppress the expression of negative emotions.
The results of this study confirmed the authors' hypothesis: cognitive reappraisal and expression suppression are both effective in reducing the negative emotional experiences induced by the arousing scenes, to a similar extent. Furthermore, by the analyses of electrophysiological data, it was found that expression suppression reduced negative emotional reactions at a faster speed than cognitive reappraisal.
The study is published in the journal SCIENCE CHINA: Life Sciences.