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Emotion regulation by implementation intention is generalizable to unspecified situations: The nature of the underlying goal matters.

Authors
  • Huang, Xing1
  • Chen, Shengdong2
  • Gao, Wei2
  • Yang, Jiemin3
  • Yuan, Jiajin4
  • 1 The Laboratory for Affect Cognition and Regulation (ACRLab), Institute of Brain and Psychological Sciences, Sichuan Normal University, Chengdu, China; Faculty of Psychology, Southwest University, Chongqing, China. , (China)
  • 2 Faculty of Psychology, Southwest University, Chongqing, China. , (China)
  • 3 The Laboratory for Affect Cognition and Regulation (ACRLab), Institute of Brain and Psychological Sciences, Sichuan Normal University, Chengdu, China. , (China)
  • 4 The Laboratory for Affect Cognition and Regulation (ACRLab), Institute of Brain and Psychological Sciences, Sichuan Normal University, Chengdu, China. Electronic address: [email protected] , (China)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Acta psychologica
Publication Date
Oct 01, 2020
Volume
210
Pages
103144–103144
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2020.103144
PMID: 32847750
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Implementation intentions (II), which specify how to respond in a given situation based on the goal, is known for its automaticity of regulating emotion to the specified situation. However, it is unknown whether such regulatory effects can be generalized to unspecified situations. For this purpose, we performed four experiments, each consisting of specified (bloody) and unspecified (non-bloody) stimuli with the goal of disgust (Exp.1-2) or unpleasant (Exp.3) regulation. Results showed that II reduced negative feelings for both bloody and non-bloody situations (Exp.1). This generalization effect was absent for goal-unrelated, frightening situations (Exp.2). However, broadening the goal extended the generalization effect to the frightening situation, an effect further amplified when a flexible response was used (Exp.3). Moreover, the II buildup did not disrupt feelings for pleasant situations (Exp.4). These results provide the first evidence that II-based emotion regulation is generalizable to unspecified, goal-related situations and that increasing goal coverage expands the generalization. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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