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The down-regulation of disgust by implementation intentions: experiential and physiological concomitants


Gomez, Patrick; Scholz, Urte; Danuser, Brigitta (2015). The down-regulation of disgust by implementation intentions: experiential and physiological concomitants. Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, 40(2):95-106.

Abstract

Emotion regulation plays a key role in mental health and psychopathology. Therefore, it seems important to develop effective forms of emotion regulation. Implementation intentions are if-then plans that help people attain their self-regulatory goals. Perspective-taking and response-focused implementation intentions have been shown to reduce feelings of unpleasantness and arousal, respectively, in response to briefly presented disgusting pictures. The present study addressed the open research questions whether forming these types of implementation intentions is effective in regulating affect during prolonged presentation of disgusting pictures, and whether it is associated with changes in physiological arousal. Eighty-one participants viewed disgusting, neutral, and pleasant pictures of 6 s duration under four instructions: the goal intention to not get disgusted, this goal intention furnished with a perspective-taking or a response-focused implementation intention, and no emotion regulation instructions. The dependent variables were ratings of disgust, valence, arousal, and electrodermal activity. Only perspective-taking implementation intention participants significantly reduced their disgust and unpleasantness as compared to goal-intention and control participants. Arousal and skin conductance did not significantly differ between conditions. The effectiveness of response-focused but not perspective-taking implementation intentions seems to be substantially reduced during sustained exposure duration.

Abstract

Emotion regulation plays a key role in mental health and psychopathology. Therefore, it seems important to develop effective forms of emotion regulation. Implementation intentions are if-then plans that help people attain their self-regulatory goals. Perspective-taking and response-focused implementation intentions have been shown to reduce feelings of unpleasantness and arousal, respectively, in response to briefly presented disgusting pictures. The present study addressed the open research questions whether forming these types of implementation intentions is effective in regulating affect during prolonged presentation of disgusting pictures, and whether it is associated with changes in physiological arousal. Eighty-one participants viewed disgusting, neutral, and pleasant pictures of 6 s duration under four instructions: the goal intention to not get disgusted, this goal intention furnished with a perspective-taking or a response-focused implementation intention, and no emotion regulation instructions. The dependent variables were ratings of disgust, valence, arousal, and electrodermal activity. Only perspective-taking implementation intention participants significantly reduced their disgust and unpleasantness as compared to goal-intention and control participants. Arousal and skin conductance did not significantly differ between conditions. The effectiveness of response-focused but not perspective-taking implementation intentions seems to be substantially reduced during sustained exposure duration.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:June 2015
Deposited On:24 Nov 2015 11:47
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 19:34
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:1090-0586
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s10484-015-9280-2
PubMed ID:25855390

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