James J. Gross, PhD, is Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, and Director of the Stanford Psychophysiology Laboratory ( Dr. Gross earned his BA in philosophy from Yale University in 1987 and his PhD in clinical psychology from the University of California, Berkeley in 1993. He is a leading figure in the areas of emotion and emotion regulation, and he has received early career awards from the American Psychological Association, the Western Psychological Association, and the Society for Psychophysiological Research. Dr. Gross also has won numerous awards for his teaching, including the Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching, the Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Prize, the Stanford Postdoctoral Mentoring Award, and the Walter J. Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching. He is a Bass University Fellow in Undergraduate Education and the Director of the Stanford Psychology One Teaching Program. Dr. Gross has an extensive program of investigator-initiated research, with grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Institute of Education Sciences. He has over 250 publications, and is a Fellow in the Association for Psychological Science and the American Psychological Association.

Academic Appointments

Research & Scholarship

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

Emotion regulation in healthy and clinical populations

Clinical Trials

  • Effect of Behavior Therapy on Responses to Social Stimuli in People With Social Phobia Not Recruiting

    This study will evaluate the effect of cognitive behavioral therapy on the brain during emotional and behavioral responses to social stimuli in people with social phobia.

    Stanford is currently not accepting patients for this trial. For more information, please contact Philippe Goldin, (650) 723 - 5977.

    View full details


2013-14 Courses

Graduate and Fellowship Programs


Journal Articles

  • Predicting Affective Choice JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY-GENERAL Suri, G., Sheppes, G., Gross, J. J. 2013; 142 (3): 627-632


    Affect is increasingly recognized as central to decision making. However, it is not clear whether affect can be used to predict choice. To address this issue, we conducted 4 studies designed to create and test a model that could predict choice from affect. In Study 1, we used an image rating task to develop a model that predicted approach-avoidance motivations. This model quantified the role of two basic dimensions of affect-valence and arousal-in determining choice. We then tested the predictive power of this model for two types of decisions involving images: preference based selections (Study 2) and risk-reward trade-offs (Study 3). In both cases, the model derived in Study 1 predicted choice and outperformed competing models drawn from well-established theoretical views. Finally, we showed that this model has ecological validity: It predicted choices between news articles on the basis of headlines (Study 4). These findings have implications for diverse fields, including neuroeconomics and judgment and decision making. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).

    View details for DOI 10.1037/a0029900

    View details for Web of Science ID 000322353600004

    View details for PubMedID 22924884

  • The psychophysiology of mixed emotional states. Psychophysiology Kreibig, S. D., Samson, A. C., Gross, J. J. 2013; 50 (8): 799-811


    How to conceptualize mixed emotional states is a central issue in the field of affective science. Nondifferentiation, additive, and emergence accounts of mixed emotions make divergent predictions regarding physiological responses in mixed emotions. To test these predictions, 43 women watched film clips that elicited amusement, disgust, or mixed emotions while feeling self-report, facial electromyography, cardiovascular, electrodermal, and respiratory measures were assessed. Simultaneous self-reports of amusement and disgust confirmed elicitation of a mixed emotional state. Physiologically, mixed emotions differed from pure amusement and pure disgust both in intensity and pattern. This suggests a distinct physiological response of the mixed emotional state, as predicted by the emergence account of mixed emotions. Implications for emotion theory and research are discussed.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/psyp.12064

    View details for PubMedID 23730872

  • Maladaptive Cognitive Emotion Regulation Prospectively Predicts Subclinical Paranoia COGNITIVE THERAPY AND RESEARCH Westermann, S., Boden, M. T., Gross, J. J., Lincoln, T. M. 2013; 37 (4): 881-885
  • Childhood maltreatment and response to cognitive behavioral therapy among individuals with social anxiety disorder. Depression and anxiety Bruce, L. C., Heimberg, R. G., Goldin, P. R., Gross, J. J. 2013; 30 (7): 662-669


    The association between childhood maltreatment-particularly emotional maltreatment-and social anxiety disorder (SAD) has been established by research. Only recently have researchers begun to look at the impact of childhood maltreatment on treatment outcomes, and findings have been mixed. Because prior studies have focused on pharmacotherapy outcomes, or used global measures of childhood adversity or abuse, it is not clear how specific types of maltreatment impact outcomes in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for SAD. The current study reports on how specific types of childhood maltreatment such as physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, physical neglect, and emotional neglect impact response to CBT in adults with SAD.Sixty-eight individuals with a primary diagnosis of SAD completed the childhood trauma questionnaire, along with measures of social anxiety, disability, and life satisfaction.Childhood maltreatment did not affect the rate of response to CBT, but there is evidence for its negative impact. Patients with histories of emotional abuse and emotional neglect reported greater social anxiety, less satisfaction, and greater disability over the course of treatment. Sexual abuse also predicted greater social anxiety.Childhood abuse and/or neglect did not result in differential rates of improvement during CBT; however, those reporting histories of emotional and sexual forms of maltreatment evidenced greater symptoms and/or impairment at pre- and posttreatment. Additional attention to the role of traumatic experiences within CBT for SAD may be warranted.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/da.22112

    View details for PubMedID 23554134

  • There's More to Anxiety Than Meets the Eye: Isolating Threat-Related Attentional Engagement and Disengagement Biases EMOTION Sheppes, G., Luria, R., Fukuda, K., Gross, J. J. 2013; 13 (3): 520-528


    Threat-related attentional biases represent a basic survival mechanism. These biases include an engagement bias involving rapid direction of attention toward threat and a disengagement bias involving slow direction of attention away from threat. The exact nature of these biases in healthy and anxious individuals remains controversial because of the challenges associated with accurately isolating each of these attentional biases. Combining a cognitive attentional task with classical conditioning using electric stimulation, we created a new paradigm that makes it possible to more clearly isolate these attentional biases. Utilizing this novel paradigm, we detected both types of attentional bias and differentiated between levels of trait anxiety, in which low- and high-trait anxiety individuals showed equal levels of engagement bias, but only high-trait anxiety individuals showed impaired disengagement from threat.

    View details for DOI 10.1037/a0031236

    View details for Web of Science ID 000320064900018

    View details for PubMedID 23356563

  • EMOTION REGULATION AND POSTTRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER: A PROSPECTIVE INVESTIGATION JOURNAL OF SOCIAL AND CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY Boden, M. T., Westermann, S., McRae, K., Kuo, J., Alvarez, J., Kulkarni, M. R., Gross, J. J., Bonn-Miller, M. O. 2013; 32 (3): 296-314
  • The interactive effects of emotional clarity and cognitive reappraisal on problematic cannabis use among medical cannabis users ADDICTIVE BEHAVIORS Boden, M. T., Gross, J. J., Babson, K. A., Bonn-Miller, M. O. 2013; 38 (3): 1663-1668


    This study examined whether emotional clarity (i.e., the extent to which one can identify and understand the type and source of emotions one experiences) and cognitive reappraisal (i.e., altering how potentially emotion-eliciting situations are construed to change their emotional impact) would individually or jointly be associated with problematic cannabis use among individuals receiving cannabis for medical reasons (n=153). Findings indicated that problematic cannabis use was predicted by the interaction between emotional clarity and cognitive reappraisal. In particular, low levels of emotional clarity combined with high levels of cognitive reappraisal predicted problematic cannabis use. The current study is the first to demonstrate the interactive effects of emotional clarity and the use of cognitive reappraisal in predicting substance use disorder outcomes. Such findings are important given the lack of empirical data demonstrating for whom and for which conditions cannabis is either beneficial or detrimental.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.addbeh.2012.09.001

    View details for Web of Science ID 000315369800012

    View details for PubMedID 23254215

  • Is there less to social anxiety than meets the eye? Behavioral and neural responses to three socio-emotional tasks. Biology of mood & anxiety disorders Ziv, M., Goldin, P. R., Jazaieri, H., Hahn, K. S., Gross, J. J. 2013; 3 (1): 5-?


    Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is widely thought to be characterized by heightened behavioral and limbic reactivity to socio-emotional stimuli. However, although behavioral findings are clear, neural findings are surprisingly mixed.Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we examined behavioral and brain responses in a priori emotion generative regions of interest (amygdala and insula) in 67 patients with generalized SAD and in 28 healthy controls (HC) during three distinct socio-emotional tasks. We administered these socio-emotional tasks during one fMRI scanning session: 1) looming harsh faces (Faces); 2) videotaped actors delivering social criticism (Criticism); and 3) written negative self-beliefs (Beliefs).In each task, SAD patients reported heightened negative emotion, compared to HC. There were, however, no SAD versus HC differential brain responses in the amygdala and insula. Between-group whole-brain analyses confirmed no group differences in the responses of the amygdala and insula, and indicated different brain networks activated during each of the tasks. In SAD participants, social anxiety symptom severity was associated with increased BOLD signal in the left insula during the Faces task.The similar responses in amygdala and insula in SAD and HC participants suggest that heightened negative emotion responses reported by patients with SAD may be related to dysfunction in higher cognitive processes (e.g., distorted appraisal, attention biases, or ineffective cognitive reappraisal). In addition, the findings of this study emphasize the differential effects of socio-emotional experimental tasks.

    View details for DOI 10.1186/2045-5380-3-5

    View details for PubMedID 23448192

  • Emotional Reactivity and Regulation in Panic Disorder: Insights from a Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy BIOLOGICAL PSYCHIATRY Shurick, A. A., Gross, J. J. 2013; 73 (1): 5-6
  • MBSR vs aerobic exercise in social anxiety: fMRI of emotion regulation of negative self-beliefs SOCIAL COGNITIVE AND AFFECTIVE NEUROSCIENCE Goldin, P., Ziv, M., Jazaieri, H., Hahn, K., Gross, J. J. 2013; 8 (1): 65-72


    Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is thought to reduce emotional reactivity and enhance emotion regulation in patients with social anxiety disorder (SAD). The goal of this study was to examine the neural correlates of deploying attention to regulate responses to negative self-beliefs using functional magnetic resonance imaging. Participants were 56 patients with generalized SAD in a randomized controlled trial who were assigned to MBSR or a comparison aerobic exercise (AE) stress reduction program. Compared to AE, MBSR yielded greater (i) reductions in negative emotion when implementing regulation and (ii) increases in attention-related parietal cortical regions. Meditation practice was associated with decreases in negative emotion and social anxiety symptom severity, and increases in attention-related parietal cortex neural responses when implementing attention regulation of negative self-beliefs. Changes in attention regulation during MBSR may be an important psychological factor that helps to explain how mindfulness meditation training benefits patients with anxiety disorders.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/scan/nss054

    View details for Web of Science ID 000313649700009

    View details for PubMedID 22586252

  • Emotion regulation and peer-rated social functioning: A 4-year longitudinal study JOURNAL OF RESEARCH IN PERSONALITY English, T., John, O. P., Srivastava, S., Gross, J. J. 2012; 46 (6): 780-784


    Different emotion regulation strategies have been linked to distinct social outcomes, but only concurrently or in the short-term. The present research employed a four-year longitudinal design with peer-reported measures of social functioning to examine the long-term social effects of emotion regulation. Individual differences in suppression before entering college predicted weaker social connections (e.g., less close relationships) at the end of college, whereas reappraisal predicted stronger social connections and more favorable sociometric standing (e.g., higher social status). These effects of emotion regulation remained intact even when controlling for baseline social functioning and Big Five personality traits. These findings suggest that individual differences in the use of particular emotion regulation strategies have an enduring impact, shaping the individual's social environment over time.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jrp.2012.09.006

    View details for Web of Science ID 000312626100018

    View details for PubMedID 23471162

  • The effects of acceptance and suppression on anticipation and receipt of painful stimulation JOURNAL OF BEHAVIOR THERAPY AND EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHIATRY Braams, B. R., Blechert, J., Boden, M. T., Gross, J. J. 2012; 43 (4): 1014-1018


    Previous research has found that in some contexts, suppression increases distress, whereas acceptance decreases distress. It is not clear, however, whether these two common forms of emotion regulation have comparable or divergent physiological and behavioral effects during the anticipation and receipt of a painful stimulus.To address this issue, we randomized participants to suppression, acceptance, or no instruction control groups, and assessed their cardiovascular and behavioral responses while they anticipated and then received electric shocks.Findings revealed that compared to the control condition (1) acceptance and suppression led to comparable reductions in pain reports and cardiac defense responses; and (2) acceptance led to greater reductions in reports of anticipatory anxiety than suppression.The current study tested only two emotion regulation techniques in the context of a pain-inducing stimulus that has limited ecological validity.In contrast to previous research, we found that both acceptance and suppression are effective in reducing pain and anxiety in response to experimentally induced pain.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jbtep.2012.04.001

    View details for Web of Science ID 000306625200006

    View details for PubMedID 22580070

  • Durable Effects of Cognitive Restructuring on Conditioned Fear EMOTION Shurick, A. A., Hamilton, J. R., Harris, L. T., Roy, A. K., Gross, J. J., Phelps, E. A. 2012; 12 (6): 1393-1397


    Studies of cognitive reappraisal have demonstrated that reinterpreting a stimulus can alter emotional responding, yet few studies have examined the durable effects associated with reinterpretation-based emotion regulation strategies. Evidence for the enduring effects of emotion regulation may be found in clinical studies that use cognitive restructuring (CR) techniques in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to alleviate anxiety. These techniques are based on cognitive theories of anxiety that suggest these disorders arise from biased cognitions; therefore, changing a person's thoughts will elicit durable changes in an individual's emotional responses. Despite the considerable success of CBT for anxiety disorders, durable effects associated with emotion regulation have not been thoroughly examined in the context of a laboratory paradigm. The goal of this study was to determine whether CR, a technique used in CBT and similar to cognitive reappraisal, could attenuate conditioned fear responses, and whether the effect would persist over time (24 hr). We conditioned participants using images of snakes or spiders that were occasionally paired with a mild shock to the wrist while we obtained subjective fear reports and electrodermal activity (EDA). After conditioning, half of the participants were randomly assigned to CR training aimed at decreasing their emotional response to the shock and the conditioned stimuli, while the other half received no such training. All participants returned 24 hr later to repeat the conditioning session. Compared with control participants, CR participants demonstrated a reduction in fear and EDA across sessions. These findings suggest that CR has durable effects on fear responding.

    View details for DOI 10.1037/a0029143

    View details for Web of Science ID 000311878700026

    View details for PubMedID 22775125

  • Cognitive Reappraisal Self-Efficacy Mediates the Effects of Individual Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Social Anxiety Disorder JOURNAL OF CONSULTING AND CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY Goldin, P. R., Ziv, M., Jazaieri, H., Werner, K., Kraemer, H., Heimberg, R. G., Gross, J. J. 2012; 80 (6): 1034-1040


    To examine whether changes in cognitive reappraisal self-efficacy (CR-SE) mediate the effects of individually administered cognitive-behavioral therapy (I-CBT) for social anxiety disorder (SAD) on severity of social anxiety symptoms.A randomized controlled trial in which 75 adult patients (21-55 years of age; 53% male; 57% Caucasian) with a principal diagnosis of generalized SAD were randomly assigned to 16 sessions of I-CBT (n = 38) or a wait-list control (WL) group (n = 37). All patients completed self-report inventories measuring CR-SE and social anxiety symptoms at baseline and post-I-CBT/post-WL, and I-CBT completers were also assessed at 1-year posttreatment.Compared with WL, I-CBT resulted in greater increases in CR-SE and greater decreases in social anxiety. Increases in CR-SE during I-CBT mediated the effect of I-CBT on social anxiety. Gains achieved by patients receiving I-CBT were maintained 1-year posttreatment, and I-CBT-related increases in CR-SE were also associated with reduction in social anxiety at the 1-year follow-up.Increasing CR-SE may be an important mechanism by which I-CBT for SAD produces both immediate and long-term reductions in social anxiety.

    View details for DOI 10.1037/a0028555

    View details for Web of Science ID 000311817500007

    View details for PubMedID 22582765

  • Looking Inward: Shifting Attention Within Working Memory Representations Alters Emotional Responses PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE Thiruchselvam, R., Hajcak, G., Gross, J. J. 2012; 23 (12): 1461-1466


    Selective attention plays a fundamental role in emotion regulation. To date, research has examined individuals' use of selective attention to regulate emotional responses during stimulus presentation. In the present study, we examined whether selective attention can be used to regulate emotional responses during a poststimulus period when representations are active within working memory (WM). On each trial, participants viewed either a negative or a neutral image. After the offset of the image, they maintained a representation of it in WM and were cued to focus their attention on either neutral or arousing aspects of that representation. Results showed that, relative to focusing on an arousing portion of a negative-image representation within WM, focusing on a neutral portion of the representation reduced both self-reported negative emotion and the late positive potential, a robust neural measure of emotional reactivity. These data suggest that selective attention can alter emotional responses arising from affective representations active within WM.

    View details for DOI 10.1177/0956797612449838

    View details for Web of Science ID 000314502600004

    View details for PubMedID 23137969

  • Age-Related Differences in Emotional Reactivity, Regulation, and Rejection Sensitivity in Adolescence EMOTION Silvers, J. A., McRae, K., Gabrieli, J. D., Gross, J. J., Remy, K. A., Ochsner, K. N. 2012; 12 (6): 1235-1247


    Although adolescents' emotional lives are thought to be more turbulent than those of adults, it is unknown whether this difference is attributable to developmental changes in emotional reactivity or emotion regulation. Study 1 addressed this question by presenting healthy individuals aged 10-23 with negative and neutral pictures and asking them to respond naturally or use cognitive reappraisal to down-regulate their responses on a trial-by-trial basis. Results indicated that age exerted both linear and quadratic effects on regulation success but was unrelated to emotional reactivity. Study 2 replicated and extended these findings using a different reappraisal task and further showed that situational (i.e., social vs. nonsocial stimuli) and dispositional (i.e., level of rejection sensitivity) social factors interacted with age to predict regulation success: young adolescents were less successful at regulating responses to social than to nonsocial stimuli, particularly if the adolescents were high in rejection sensitivity. Taken together, these results have important implications for the inclusion of emotion regulation in models of emotional and cognitive development.

    View details for DOI 10.1037/a0028297

    View details for Web of Science ID 000311878700009

    View details for PubMedID 22642356

  • Randomized controlled trial of mindfulness-based stress reduction versus aerobic exercise: effects on the self-referential brain network in social anxiety disorder FRONTIERS IN HUMAN NEUROSCIENCE Goldin, P., Ziv, M., Jazaieri, H., Gross, J. J. 2012; 6


    Background: Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is characterized by distorted self-views. The goal of this study was to examine whether mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) alters behavioral and brain measures of negative and positive self-views. Methods: Fifty-six adult patients with generalized SAD were randomly assigned to MBSR or a comparison aerobic exercise (AE) program. A self-referential encoding task was administered at baseline and post-intervention to examine changes in behavioral and neural responses in the self-referential brain network during functional magnetic resonance imaging. Patients were cued to decide whether positive and negative social trait adjectives were self-descriptive or in upper case font. Results: Behaviorally, compared to AE, MBSR produced greater decreases in negative self-views, and equivalent increases in positive self-views. Neurally, during negative self versus case, compared to AE, MBSR led to increased brain responses in the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC). There were no differential changes for positive self versus case. Secondary analyses showed that changes in endorsement of negative and positive self-views were associated with decreased social anxiety symptom severity for MBSR, but not AE. Additionally, MBSR-related increases in dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (DMPFC) activity during negative self-view versus case were associated with decreased social anxiety related disability and increased mindfulness. Analysis of neural temporal dynamics revealed MBSR-related changes in the timing of neural responses in the DMPFC and PCC for negative self-view versus case. Conclusion: These findings suggest that MBSR attenuates maladaptive habitual self-views by facilitating automatic (i.e., uninstructed) recruitment of cognitive and attention regulation neural networks. This highlights potentially important links between self-referential and cognitive-attention regulation systems and suggests that MBSR may enhance more adaptive social self-referential processes in patients with SAD.

    View details for DOI 10.3389/fnhum.2012.00295

    View details for Web of Science ID 000311226900001

    View details for PubMedID 23133411

  • You don't like me, do you? Enhanced ERP responses to averted eye gaze in social anxiety BIOLOGICAL PSYCHOLOGY Schmitz, J., Scheel, C. N., Rigon, A., Gross, J. J., Blechert, J. 2012; 91 (2): 263-269


    Social anxiety is associated with an attentional bias toward angry and fearful faces, along with an enhanced processing of faces per se. However, little is known about the processing of gaze direction, a subtle but important social cue. Participants with high or low social anxiety (HSA/LSA) observed eye pairs with direct or averted gaze while subjective ratings and event-related potentials (ERPs) were measured. Behaviorally, all participants rated averted gaze as more unpleasant than direct gaze. Neurally, only HSA participants showed a trend for higher P100 amplitudes to averted gaze and significantly enhanced processing at late latencies (Late positive potential [LPP]), indicative of a specific processing bias for averted gaze. Furthermore, HSA individuals showed enhanced processing of both direct and averted gaze relative to the LSA group at intermediate latencies (Early posterior negativity [EPN]). Both general and specific attentional biases play a role in social anxiety. Averted gaze--potential sign of disinterest--deserves more attention in the attentional bias literature.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2012.07.004

    View details for Web of Science ID 000310418600012

    View details for PubMedID 22820039

  • The Stranger Effect: The Rejection of Affective Deviants PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE Szczurek, L., Monin, B., Gross, J. J. 2012; 23 (10): 1105-1111


    What happens when affective displays deviate from normative expectations? In this study, participants evaluated target individuals displaying flat, incongruent, or congruent expressions seemingly in response to pictures eliciting positive, neutral, or negative affect. Relative to targets who displayed normative reactions, those who violated affective norms (affective deviants) were rated more negatively on various dimensions of social judgment. Participants also preferred greater social distance from affective deviants, reported more moral outrage in response to them, and inferred that these targets did not share their moral values. Incongruent affect resulted in more negative social judgment than did flat affect, and this relationship was moderated by stimulus valence. Finally, the relationship between targets' affective expressions and participants' avoidant intentions was mediated by the extent to which participants thought the targets shared their moral values. These findings demonstrate the interpersonal costs of affective deviance, revealing the pervasiveness and force of affective norms.

    View details for DOI 10.1177/0956797612445314

    View details for Web of Science ID 000314499600008

    View details for PubMedID 22961772

  • Cognitive Regulation during Decision Making Shifts Behavioral Control between Ventromedial and Dorsolateral Prefrontal Value Systems JOURNAL OF NEUROSCIENCE Hutcherson, C. A., Plassmann, H., Gross, J. J., Rangel, A. 2012; 32 (39): 13543-13554


    Cognitive regulation is often used to influence behavioral outcomes. However, the computational and neurobiological mechanisms by which it affects behavior remain unknown. We studied this issue using an fMRI task in which human participants used cognitive regulation to upregulate and downregulate their cravings for foods at the time of choice. We found that activity in both ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) correlated with value. We also found evidence that two distinct regulatory mechanisms were at work: value modulation, which operates by changing the values assigned to foods in vmPFC and dlPFC at the time of choice, and behavioral control modulation, which operates by changing the relative influence of the vmPFC and dlPFC value signals on the action selection process used to make choices. In particular, during downregulation, activation decreased in the value-sensitive region of dlPFC (indicating value modulation) but not in vmPFC, and the relative contribution of the two value signals to behavior shifted toward the dlPFC (indicating behavioral control modulation). The opposite pattern was observed during upregulation: activation increased in vmPFC but not dlPFC, and the relative contribution to behavior shifted toward the vmPFC. Finally, ventrolateral PFC and posterior parietal cortex were more active during both upregulation and downregulation, and were functionally connected with vmPFC and dlPFC during cognitive regulation, which suggests that they help to implement the changes to the decision-making circuitry generated by cognitive regulation.

    View details for DOI 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.6387-11.2012

    View details for Web of Science ID 000309506300024

    View details for PubMedID 23015444

  • Emotion regulation and successful aging TRENDS IN COGNITIVE SCIENCES Suri, G., Gross, J. J. 2012; 16 (8): 409-410


    Despite normative declines in old age, healthy elderly typically report surprisingly high levels of well-being. It is not clear why this is so. A study by Brassen and colleagues suggests that one factor may be reduced responsiveness to regret. These findings highlight the role of emotion regulation in successful aging.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.tics.2012.06.007

    View details for Web of Science ID 000307696400007

    View details for PubMedID 22739000

  • Lead Me Not into Temptation: Using Cognitive Reappraisal to Reduce Goal Inconsistent Behavior PLOS ONE Leroy, V., Gregoire, J., Magen, E., Gross, J. J., Mikolajczak, M. 2012; 7 (7)


    Temptations besiege us, and we must resist their appeal if we are to achieve our long-term goals. In two studies, we tested the hypothesis that cognitive reappraisal could be used to successfully maintain performance in a task embedded in temptation. In Study 1, 62 participants had to search for information on the Internet while resisting attractive task-irrelevant content on preselected sites. In Study 2, 58 participants had to count target words in a funny TV sequence. Compared to the no-reappraisal condition, participants who understood the situation as a test of willpower (the reappraisal condition) (1) performed better at the task (Studies 1 and 2), and (2) were less tempted by the attractive content of the TV sequence (Study 2). These findings suggest that, by making the temptation less attractive and the task more appealing, cognitive reappraisal can help us resist temptation.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0039493

    View details for Web of Science ID 000306751300005

    View details for PubMedID 22911686

  • A Randomized Trial of MBSR Versus Aerobic Exercise for Social Anxiety Disorder JOURNAL OF CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY Jazaieri, H., Goldin, P. R., Werner, K., Ziv, M., Gross, J. J. 2012; 68 (7): 715-731


    OBJECTIVE: Effective treatments for social anxiety disorder (SAD) exist, but additional treatment options are needed for nonresponders as well as those who are either unable or unwilling to engage in traditional treatments. Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is one nontraditional treatment that has demonstrated efficacy in treating other mood and anxiety disorders, and preliminary data suggest its efficacy in SAD as well. METHOD: Fifty-six adults (52% female; 41% Caucasian; age mean [M] ± standard deviation [SD]: 32.8 ± 8.4) with SAD were randomized to MBSR or an active comparison condition, aerobic exercise (AE). At baseline and post-intervention, participants completed measures of clinical symptoms (Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale, Social Interaction Anxiety Scale, Beck Depression Inventory-II, and Perceived Stress Scale) and subjective well-being (Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, Satisfaction with Life Scale, Self-Compassion Scale, and UCLA-8 Loneliness Scale). At 3 months post-intervention, a subset of these measures was readministered. For clinical significance analyses, 48 healthy adults (52.1% female; 56.3% Caucasian; age [M ± SD]: 33.9 ± 9.8) were recruited. MBSR and AE participants were also compared with a separate untreated group of 29 adults (44.8% female; 48.3% Caucasian; age [M ± SD]: 32.3 ± 9.4) with generalized SAD who completed assessments over a comparable time period with no intervening treatment. RESULTS: A 2 (Group) x 2 (Time) repeated measures analyses of variance (ANOVAs) on measures of clinical symptoms and well-being were conducted to examine pre-intervention to post-intervention and pre-intervention to 3-month follow-up. Both MBSR and AE were associated with reductions in social anxiety and depression and increases in subjective well-being, both immediately post-intervention and at 3 months post-intervention. When participants in the randomized controlled trial were compared with the untreated SAD group, participants in both interventions exhibited improvements on measures of clinical symptoms and well-being. CONCLUSION: Nontraditional interventions such as MBSR and AE merit further exploration as alternative or complementary treatments for SAD.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/jclp.21863

    View details for Web of Science ID 000305293300001

    View details for PubMedID 22623316

  • Psychometric Evaluation of the Fear of Positive Evaluation Scale in Patients With Social Anxiety Disorder PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT Weeks, J. W., Heimberg, R. G., Rodebaugh, T. L., Goldin, P. R., Gross, J. J. 2012; 24 (2): 301-312


    The Fear of Positive Evaluation Scale (FPES; J. W. Weeks, R. G. Heimberg, & T. L. Rodebaugh, 2008) was designed to assess fear of positive evaluation, a proposed cognitive component of social anxiety. Although previous findings on the psychometric properties of the FPES have been highly encouraging, only 1 previous study has examined the psychometric profile of the FPES in a sample of patients with social anxiety disorder (T. A. Fergus et al., 2009). The primary purpose of the present study was to conduct a large multisite examination of the psychometric profile of the FPES among patients with a principal diagnosis of social anxiety disorder (n = 226; generalized subtype = 97.8%). Responses of nonanxious control participants (n = 42) were also examined. The factorial validity, internal consistency, test-retest reliability, construct validity, and treatment sensitivity of the FPES were strongly supported by our findings. Furthermore, an FPES cutoff score was identified for distinguishing levels of fear of positive evaluation characteristic of patients with social anxiety disorder from those characteristic of the control group. Results provide additional support for the psychometric properties of the FPES in clinical samples.

    View details for DOI 10.1037/a0025723

    View details for Web of Science ID 000304842200004

    View details for PubMedID 21966932

  • The role of maladaptive beliefs in cognitive-behavioral therapy: Evidence from social anxiety disorder BEHAVIOUR RESEARCH AND THERAPY Boden, M. T., John, O. P., Goldin, P. R., Werner, K., Heimberg, R. G., Gross, J. J. 2012; 50 (5): 287-291


    Beliefs that are negatively biased, inaccurate, and rigid are thought to play a key role in the mood and anxiety disorders. Our goal in this study was to examine whether a change in maladaptive beliefs mediated the outcome of individual cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for social anxiety disorder (SAD). In a sample of 47 individuals with SAD receiving CBT, we measured maladaptive interpersonal beliefs as well as emotional and behavioral components of social anxiety, both at baseline and after treatment completion. We found that (a) maladaptive interpersonal beliefs were associated with social anxiety at baseline and treatment completion; (b) maladaptive interpersonal beliefs were significantly reduced from baseline to treatment completion; and (c) treatment-related reductions in maladaptive interpersonal beliefs fully accounted for reductions in social anxiety after CBT. These results extend the literature by providing support for cognitive models of mental disorders, broadly, and SAD, specifically.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.brat.2012.02.007

    View details for Web of Science ID 000303637200003

    View details for PubMedID 22445947

  • See What You Think: Reappraisal Modulates Behavioral and Neural Responses to Social Stimuli PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE Blechert, J., Sheppes, G., Di Tella, C., Williams, H., Gross, J. J. 2012; 23 (4): 346-353


    The social environment requires people to quickly form contextually appropriate social evaluations. Models of social cognition suggest that this ability depends on the interaction of automatic and controlled evaluative systems. However, controlled processes, such as reappraisal of an initial response, have rarely been studied in the context of social evaluation. In the two studies reported here, participants reappraised or simply observed angry or neutral faces. In Study 1, reappraisal modulated evaluations of angry faces on explicit as well as implicit behavioral levels. In Study 2, reappraisal altered both early and late phases of evaluative electrocortical processing. These studies suggest that controlled processes, such as reappraisal, can quickly and substantially modulate early evaluative processes in the context of biologically significant social stimuli.

    View details for DOI 10.1177/0956797612438559

    View details for Web of Science ID 000303209300002

    View details for PubMedID 22431908

  • Unpacking Cognitive Reappraisal: Goals, Tactics, and Outcomes EMOTION McRae, K., Ciesielski, B., Gross, J. J. 2012; 12 (2): 250-255


    Studies of emotion regulation typically contrast two or more strategies (e.g., reappraisal vs. suppression) and ignore variation within each strategy. To address such variation, we focused on cognitive reappraisal and considered the effects of goals (i.e., what people are trying to achieve) and tactics (i.e., what people actually do) on outcomes (i.e., how affective responses change). To examine goals, we randomly assigned participants to either increase positive emotion or decrease negative emotion to a negative stimulus. To examine tactics, we categorized participants' reports of how they reappraised. To examine reappraisal outcomes, we measured experience and electrodermal responding. Findings indicated that (a) the goal of increasing positive emotion led to greater increases in positive affect and smaller decreases in skin conductance than the goal of decreasing negative emotion, and (b) use of the reality challenge tactic was associated with smaller increases in positive affect during reappraisal. These findings suggest that reappraisal can be implemented in the service of different emotion goals, using different tactics. Such differences are associated with different outcomes, and they should be considered in future research and applied attempts to maximize reappraisal success.

    View details for DOI 10.1037/a0026351

    View details for Web of Science ID 000302200000009

    View details for PubMedID 22148990

  • Resisting the sirens of temptation while studying: Using reappraisal to increase focus, enthusiasm, and performance LEARNING AND INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES Leroy, V., Gregoire, J., Magen, E., Gross, J. J., Mikolajczak, M. 2012; 22 (2): 263-268
  • Bottom-up and top-down emotion generation: implications for emotion regulation SOCIAL COGNITIVE AND AFFECTIVE NEUROSCIENCE McRae, K., Misra, S., Prasad, A. K., Pereira, S. C., Gross, J. J. 2012; 7 (3): 253-262


    Emotion regulation plays a crucial role in adaptive functioning and mounting evidence suggests that some emotion regulation strategies are often more effective than others. However, little attention has been paid to the different ways emotions can be generated: from the 'bottom-up' (in response to inherently emotional perceptual properties of the stimulus) or 'top-down' (in response to cognitive evaluations). Based on a process priming principle, we hypothesized that mode of emotion generation would interact with subsequent emotion regulation. Specifically, we predicted that top-down emotions would be more successfully regulated by a top-down regulation strategy than bottom-up emotions. To test this hypothesis, we induced bottom-up and top-down emotions, and asked participants to decrease the negative impact of these emotions using cognitive reappraisal. We observed the predicted interaction between generation and regulation in two measures of emotional responding. As measured by self-reported affect, cognitive reappraisal was more successful on top-down generated emotions than bottom-up generated emotions. Neurally, reappraisal of bottom-up generated emotions resulted in a paradoxical increase of amygdala activity. This interaction between mode of emotion generation and subsequent regulation should be taken into account when comparing of the efficacy of different types of emotion regulation, as well as when reappraisal is used to treat different types of clinical disorders.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/scan/nsq103

    View details for Web of Science ID 000302810100001

    View details for PubMedID 21296865

  • Individual differences in reappraisal ability: Links to reappraisal frequency, well-being, and cognitive control JOURNAL OF RESEARCH IN PERSONALITY McRae, K., Jacobs, S. E., Ray, R. D., John, O. P., Gross, J. J. 2012; 46 (1): 2-7
  • The development of emotion regulation: an fMRI study of cognitive reappraisal in children, adolescents and young adults SOCIAL COGNITIVE AND AFFECTIVE NEUROSCIENCE McRae, K., Gross, J. J., Weber, J., Robertson, E. R., Sokol-Hessner, P., Ray, R. D., Gabrieli, J. D., Ochsner, K. N. 2012; 7 (1): 11-22


    The ability to use cognitive reappraisal to regulate emotions is an adaptive skill in adulthood, but little is known about its development. Because reappraisal is thought to be supported by linearly developing prefrontal regions, one prediction is that reappraisal ability develops linearly. However, recent investigations into socio-emotional development suggest that there are non-linear patterns that uniquely affect adolescents. We compared older children (10-13), adolescents (14-17) and young adults (18-22) on a task that distinguishes negative emotional reactivity from reappraisal ability. Behaviorally, we observed no age differences in self-reported emotional reactivity, but linear and quadratic relationships between reappraisal ability and age. Neurally, we observed linear age-related increases in activation in the left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, previously identified in adult reappraisal. We observed a quadratic pattern of activation with age in regions associated with social cognitive processes like mental state attribution (medial prefrontal cortex, posterior cingulate cortex, anterior temporal cortex). In these regions, we observed relatively lower reactivity-related activation in adolescents, but higher reappraisal-related activation. This suggests that (i) engagement of the cognitive control components of reappraisal increases linearly with age and (ii) adolescents may not normally recruit regions associated with mental state attribution, but (iii) this can be reversed with reappraisal instructions.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/scan/nsr093

    View details for Web of Science ID 000298891400002

    View details for PubMedID 22228751

  • Self-compassion and social anxiety disorder ANXIETY STRESS AND COPING Werner, K. H., Jazaieri, H., Goldin, P. R., Ziv, M., Heimberg, R. G., Gross, J. J. 2012; 25 (5): 543-558


    Self-compassion refers to having an accepting and caring orientation towards oneself. Although self-compassion has been studied primarily in healthy populations, one particularly compelling clinical context in which to examine self-compassion is social anxiety disorder (SAD). SAD is characterized by high levels of negative self-criticism as well as an abiding concern about others' evaluation of one's performance. In the present study, we tested the hypotheses that: (1) people with SAD would demonstrate less self-compassion than healthy controls (HCs), (2) self-compassion would relate to severity of social anxiety and fear of evaluation among people with SAD, and (3) age would be negatively correlated with self-compassion for people with SAD, but not for HC. As expected, people with SAD reported less self-compassion than HCs on the Self-Compassion Scale and its subscales. Within the SAD group, lesser self-compassion was not generally associated with severity of social anxiety, but it was associated with greater fear of both negative and positive evaluation. Age was negatively correlated with self-compassion for people with SAD, whereas age was positively correlated with self-compassion for HC. These findings suggest that self-compassion may be a particularly important target for assessment and treatment in persons with SAD.

    View details for DOI 10.1080/10615806.2011.608842

    View details for Web of Science ID 000307643100005

    View details for PubMedID 21895450

  • Humour as emotion regulation: The differential consequences of negative versus positive humour COGNITION & EMOTION Samson, A. C., Gross, J. J. 2012; 26 (2): 375-384


    Humour is often seen as an adaptive coping strategy; however, the empirical literature is inconclusive. One possible explanation is that different types of humour have different adaptive consequences. In the present research, we predicted that positive (good-natured) humour would be more effective at regulating negative emotions than negative (mean-spirited) humour. In Study 1, participants were shown negative pictures two times. First, they simply viewed the pictures and rated their levels of positive and negative emotions. Second, they were instructed to: (a) view; (b) use positive humour; or (c) use negative humour, and then rate their reactions. Compared to negative humour, positive humour was more successful at down-regulating negative and up-regulating positive emotion. In Study 2, we replicated these findings and showed that these effects cannot be explained by differences in difficulty between the two humour conditions, participants' expectations, or social desirability. Taken together, these findings suggest that positive (but not negative) humour may be an effective form of emotion regulation.

    View details for DOI 10.1080/02699931.2011.585069

    View details for Web of Science ID 000301650700015

    View details for PubMedID 21756218

  • The interactive effects of emotional clarity and cognitive reappraisal in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder JOURNAL OF ANXIETY DISORDERS Boden, M. T., Bonn-Miller, M. O., Kashdan, T. B., Alvarez, J., Gross, J. J. 2012; 26 (1): 233-238


    The goal of this investigation was to examine how emotional clarity and a specific emotion regulation strategy, cognitive reappraisal, interact to predict Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptom severity and positive affect among treatment seeking military Veterans (N=75, 93% male) diagnosed with PTSD. PTSD is a highly relevant context because PTSD features include heightened stress reactivity, diminished ability to differentiate and understand emotions, and reliance on maladaptive forms of emotion regulation. We found that the combination of high levels of emotional clarity and frequent use of cognitive reappraisal were associated with (a) lesser total PTSD severity after accounting for shared variance with positive affect and the extent to which emotions are attended to (attention to emotions), and (b) greater positive affect after accounting for shared variance with total PTSD severity and attention to emotions. This is the first study to demonstrate interactive effects of emotional clarity and cognitive reappraisal.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.janxdis.2011.11.007

    View details for Web of Science ID 000299361800030

    View details for PubMedID 22169054

  • Sleep quality and neural circuit function supporting emotion regulation. Biology of mood & anxiety disorders Minkel, J. D., McNealy, K., Gianaros, P. J., Drabant, E. M., Gross, J. J., Manuck, S. B., Hariri, A. R. 2012; 2 (1): 22-?


    Recent laboratory studies employing an extended sleep deprivation model have mapped sleep-related changes in behavior onto functional alterations in specific brain regions supporting emotion, suggesting possible biological mechanisms for an association between sleep difficulties and deficits in emotion regulation. However, it is not yet known if similar behavioral and neural changes are associated with the more modest variability in sleep observed in daily life.We examined relationships between sleep and neural circuitry of emotion using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and fMRI data from a widely used emotion regulation task focusing on cognitive reappraisal of negative emotional stimuli in an unselected sample of 97 adult volunteers (48 women; mean age 42.78±7.37 years, range 30-54 years old).Emotion regulation was associated with greater activation in clusters located in the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC), left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC), and inferior parietal cortex. Only one subscale from the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, use of sleep medications, was related to BOLD responses in the dmPFC and dlPFC during cognitive reappraisal. Use of sleep medications predicted lesser BOLD responses during reappraisal, but other aspects of sleep, including sleep duration and subjective sleep quality, were not related to neural activation in this paradigm.The relatively modest variability in sleep that is common in the general community is unlikely to cause significant disruption in neural circuits supporting reactivity or regulation by cognitive reappraisal of negative emotion. Use of sleep medication however, may influence emotion regulation circuitry, but additional studies are necessary to determine if such use plays a causal role in altering emotional responses.

    View details for DOI 10.1186/2045-5380-2-22

    View details for PubMedID 23216889

  • A two-dimensional approach to assessing affective states in good and poor sleepers JOURNAL OF SLEEP RESEARCH Ong, J. C., Carde, N. B., Gross, J. J., Manber, R. 2011; 20 (4): 606-610


    This study examined a two-dimensional approach to assessing affective states among good and poor sleepers using the self-assessment manikin (SAM), a brief non-verbal self-report measure of affective states with separate ratings of valence and arousal. A sample of 286 undergraduate students completed the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and the SAM. Participants were classified post hoc as either good (PSQI ? 5) or poor sleepers (PSQI > 5) using the PSQI and used the SAM to rate their current affective states (day) and their affective state at bedtime (night) the previous night. Compared to good sleepers, poor sleepers reported more negative affect and arousal at night and more negative affect during the day. Among poor sleepers, lower sleep quality and shorter sleep duration on the components of the PSQI were associated with more negative daytime valence. Among good sleepers, higher scores on the sleep medication and daytime dysfunction components of the PSQI were associated with more negative daytime valence. These findings indicate that the SAM appears to detect differences between good and poor sleepers on both valence and arousal of current daytime and retrospective night-time emotional states. This approach could be useful for the assessment of affective states related to sleep disturbance.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1365-2869.2011.00907.x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000297412700017

    View details for PubMedID 21244540

  • Emotion-Regulation Choice PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE Sheppes, G., Scheibe, S., Suri, G., Gross, J. J. 2011; 22 (11): 1391-1396


    Despite centuries of speculation about how to manage negative emotions, little is actually known about which emotion-regulation strategies people choose to use when confronted with negative situations of varying intensity. On the basis of a new process conception of emotion regulation, we hypothesized that in low-intensity negative situations, people would show a relative preference to choose to regulate emotions by engagement reappraisal, which allows emotional processing. However, we expected people in high-intensity negative situations to show a relative preference to choose to regulate emotions by disengagement distraction, which blocks emotional processing at an early stage before it gathers force. In three experiments, we created emotional contexts that varied in intensity, using either emotional pictures (Experiments 1 and 2) or unpredictable electric stimulation (Experiment 3). In response to these emotional contexts, participants chose between using either reappraisal or distraction as an emotion-regulation strategy. Results in all experiments supported our hypothesis. This pattern in the choice of emotion-regulation strategies has important implications for the understanding of healthy adaptation.

    View details for DOI 10.1177/0956797611418350

    View details for Web of Science ID 000300826400006

    View details for PubMedID 21960251

  • Is Timing Everything? Temporal Considerations in Emotion Regulation PERSONALITY AND SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY REVIEW Sheppes, G., Gross, J. J. 2011; 15 (4): 319-331


    It is often said that timing is everything. The process model of emotion regulation has taken this aphorism to heart, suggesting that down-regulating emotions before they are "up and running" is always easier than down-regulating emotions once they have gathered force (i.e., generic timing hypothesis). But does timing (i.e., emotion intensity) matter equally for all forms of regulation? In this article, the authors offer an alternative process-specific timing hypothesis, in which emotion-generative and emotion-regulatory processes compete at either earlier or later stages of information processing. Regulation strategies that target early processing stages require minimal effort. Therefore, their efficacy should be relatively unaffected by emotion intensity. By contrast, regulation strategies that target later processing stages require effort that is proportional to the intensity of the emotional response. Therefore, their efficacy should be determined by the relative strength of regulatory versus emotional processes. Implications of this revised conception are considered.

    View details for DOI 10.1177/1088868310395778

    View details for Web of Science ID 000295178600001

    View details for PubMedID 21233326



    Rewards that are not immediately available are discounted compared to rewards that are immediately available. The more a person discounts a delayed reward, the more likely that person is to have a range of behavioral problems, including clinical disorders. This latter observation has motivated the search for interventions that reduce discounting. One surprisingly simple method to reduce discounting is an "explicit-zero" reframing that states default or null outcomes. Reframing a classical discounting choice as "something now but nothing later" versus "nothing now but more later" decreases discount rates. However, it is not clear how this "explicit-zero" framing intervention works. The present studies delineate and test two possible mechanisms to explain the phenomenon. One mechanism proposes that the explicit-zero framing creates the impression of an improving sequence, thereby enhancing the present value of the delayed reward. A second possible mechanism posits an increase in attention allocation to temporally distant reward representations. In four experiments, we distinguish between these two hypothesized mechanisms and conclude that the temporal attention hypothesis is superior for explaining our results. We propose a model of temporal attention whereby framing affects intertemporal preferences by modifying present bias.

    View details for DOI 10.1901/jeab.2011.96-363

    View details for Web of Science ID 000297609500005

    View details for PubMedID 22084496

  • Assessing Emotion Regulation in Social Anxiety Disorder: The Emotion Regulation Interview JOURNAL OF PSYCHOPATHOLOGY AND BEHAVIORAL ASSESSMENT Werner, K. H., Goldin, P. R., Ball, T. M., Heimberg, R. G., Gross, J. J. 2011; 33 (3): 346-354
  • The temporal dynamics of two response-focused forms of emotion regulation: Experiential, expressive, and autonomic consequences PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY Dan-Glauser, E. S., Gross, J. J. 2011; 48 (9): 1309-1322


    This study examines the early affective consequences of two close forms of suppression. Participants (N=37) were shown negative, positive, and neutral pictures and cued either to attend to the pictures, or to perform expressive or physiological suppression (i.e., reduce body reactions). Continuous measures of experience, expressivity, and autonomic responses showed that both suppression strategies produced rapid response modulation. Common effects of the two strategies included a transient increase in negative feeling, a durable decrease in positive feeling, and a decrease in expressivity, cardiovascular activity, and oxygenation. The two strategies were significantly different only in response to positive stimuli, with physiological suppression showing a larger decrease in experience intensity and blood pressure. These results suggest a strong overlap between the two suppression strategies in terms of their early impact on emotional responses.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1469-8986.2011.01191.x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000293228800015

    View details for PubMedID 21361967

  • Emotion regulation and brain plasticity: Expressive suppression use predicts anterior insula volume NEUROIMAGE Giuliani, N. R., Drabant, E. M., Bhatnagar, R., Gross, J. J. 2011; 58 (1): 10-15


    Expressive suppression is an emotion regulation strategy that requires interoceptive and emotional awareness. These processes both recruit the anterior insula. It is not known, however, whether increased use of expressive suppression is associated with increased anterior insula volume. In the present study, high-resolution anatomical MRI images were used to calculate insula volumes in a set of 50 healthy female subjects (mean 21.9 years) using both region of interest (ROI) and voxel-based morphometry (VBM) approaches. Participants also completed trait measures of expressive suppression usage, cognitive reappraisal usage, and negative emotional reactivity (the latter two served as control measures). As predicted, both ROI and VBM methods found that expressive suppression usage, but not negative affect and cognitive reappraisal, was positively related to anterior insula volume. These findings are consistent with the idea that trait patterns of emotion processing are related to brain structure.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2011.06.028

    View details for Web of Science ID 000293548500002

    View details for PubMedID 21704173

  • An affective computing approach to physiological emotion specificity: Toward subject-independent and stimulus-independent classification of film-induced emotions PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY Kolodyazhniy, V., Kreibig, S. D., Gross, J. J., Roth, W. T., Wilhelm, F. H. 2011; 48 (7): 908-922


    The hypothesis of physiological emotion specificity has been tested using pattern classification analysis (PCA). To address limitations of prior research using PCA, we studied effects of feature selection (sequential forward selection, sequential backward selection), classifier type (linear and quadratic discriminant analysis, neural networks, k-nearest neighbors method), and cross-validation method (subject- and stimulus-(in)dependence). Analyses were run on a data set of 34 participants watching two sets of three 10-min film clips (fearful, sad, neutral) while autonomic, respiratory, and facial muscle activity were assessed. Results demonstrate that the three states can be classified with high accuracy by most classifiers, with the sparsest model having only five features, even for the most difficult task of identifying the emotion of an unknown subject in an unknown situation (77.5%). Implications for choosing PCA parameters are discussed.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1469-8986.2010.01170.x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000291255500004

    View details for PubMedID 21261632

  • Childhood trauma and current psychological functioning in adults with social anxiety disorder JOURNAL OF ANXIETY DISORDERS Kuo, J. R., Goldin, P. R., Werner, K., Heimberg, R. G., Gross, J. J. 2011; 25 (4): 467-473


    Etiological models of social anxiety disorder (SAD) suggest that early childhood trauma contributes to the development of this disorder. However, surprisingly little is known about the link between different forms of childhood trauma and adult clinical symptoms in SAD. This study (1) compared levels of childhood trauma in adults with generalized SAD versus healthy controls (HCs), and (2) examined the relationship between specific types of childhood trauma and adult clinical symptoms in SAD. Participants were 102 individuals with generalized SAD and 30 HCs who completed measures of childhood trauma, social anxiety, trait anxiety, depression, and self-esteem. Compared to HCs, individuals with SAD reported greater childhood emotional abuse and emotional neglect. Within the SAD group, childhood emotional abuse and neglect, but not sexual abuse, physical abuse, or physical neglect, were associated with the severity of social anxiety, trait anxiety, depression, and self-esteem.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.janxdis.2010.11.011

    View details for Web of Science ID 000289588000001

    View details for PubMedID 21183310

  • Anger, Hatred, and the Quest for Peace: Anger Can Be Constructive in the Absence of Hatred JOURNAL OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION Halperin, E., Russell, A. G., Dweck, C. S., Gross, J. J. 2011; 55 (2): 274-291
  • The temporal dynamics of emotion regulation: An EEG study of distraction and reappraisal BIOLOGICAL PSYCHOLOGY Thiruchselvam, R., Blechert, J., Sheppes, G., Rydstrom, A., Gross, J. J. 2011; 87 (1): 84-92


    Distraction and reappraisal are two widely used forms of emotion regulation. The process model of emotion regulation (Gross, 1998) holds that they differ (1) in when they act on the emotion-generative process, and (2) in their impact on subsequent responses to regulated stimuli. We tested these two predictions by measuring electrocortical responses to neutral and emotional images during two phases. In the regulation phase, images were watched or regulated using distraction or reappraisal. During the re-exposure phase, the same images were passively watched. As predicted, during regulation, distraction reduced the late positive potential (LPP) earlier than reappraisal. Upon re-exposure, images with a distraction (but not reappraisal) history elicited a larger LPP than images with an attend history. This pattern of results suggests that distraction and reappraisal intervene at separate stages during emotion generation, a feature which may have distinct consequences that extend beyond the regulatory episode.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2011.02.009

    View details for Web of Science ID 000290195100010

    View details for PubMedID 21354262

  • Affective modulation of the acoustic startle: Does sadness engage the defensive system? BIOLOGICAL PSYCHOLOGY Kreibig, S. D., Wilhelm, F. H., Roth, W. T., Gross, J. J. 2011; 87 (1): 161-163


    It has been suggested that high arousal negative affective states, but not low arousal negative affective states, potentiate the startle response. Because sadness has generally been studied as a low arousal emotion, it remains unclear whether high arousal sadness would produce startle potentiation to a similar degree as high arousal fear. To address this issue, 32 participants viewed two sets of 10-min film clips selected to induce two affective states of high subjective arousal (fear, sadness) and a neutral state of low subjective arousal, while the eyeblink startle response associated with brief noise bursts was assessed using orbicularis oculi EMG. Larger blink magnitude was found for fearful than for sad or neutral clips. Implications for conceptualizing sadness are discussed.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2011.02.008

    View details for Web of Science ID 000290195100020

    View details for PubMedID 21352887

  • The Moral Emotions: A Social-Functionalist Account of Anger, Disgust, and Contempt JOURNAL OF PERSONALITY AND SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY Hutcherson, C. A., Gross, J. J. 2011; 100 (4): 719-737


    Recent research has highlighted the important role of emotion in moral judgment and decision making (Greene, Sommerville, Nystrom, Darley, & Cohen, 2001; Haidt, 2001). What is less clear is whether distinctions should be drawn among specific moral emotions. Although some have argued for differences among anger, disgust, and contempt (Rozin, Lowery, Imada, & Haidt, 1999), others have suggested that these terms may describe a single undifferentiated emotional response to morally offensive behavior (Nabi, 2002). In this article, we take a social-functionalist perspective, which makes the prediction that these emotions should be differentiable both in antecedent appraisals and in consequent actions and judgments. Studies 1-3 tested and found support for our predictions concerning distinctions among antecedent appraisals, including (a) a more general role for disgust than has been previously been described, (b) an effect of self-relevance on anger but not other emotions, and (c) a role for contempt in judging incompetent actions. Studies 4 and 5 tested and found support for our specific predictions concerning functional outcomes, providing evidence that these emotions are associated with different consequences. Taken together, these studies support a social-functionalist account of anger, disgust, and contempt and lay the foundation for future research on the negative interpersonal emotions.

    View details for DOI 10.1037/a0022408

    View details for Web of Science ID 000288776100011

    View details for PubMedID 21280963

  • Don't Hide Your Happiness! Positive Emotion Dissociation, Social Connectedness, and Psychological Functioning JOURNAL OF PERSONALITY AND SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY Mauss, I. B., Shallcross, A. J., Troy, A. S., Ferrer, E., John, O. P., Wilhelm, F. H., Gross, J. J. 2011; 100 (4): 738-748


    It is now clear that positive emotion leads to enhanced psychological functioning. What is less clear, however, is just why this is so. Drawing on a social-functional perspective, we argue that positive emotional behavior that accurately signals to others the individual's internal state will enhance social connectedness. Positive emotional behavior that does not accurately signal a person's experience--such as a smile that is not felt--may impede social connectedness and, in turn, psychological functioning. This perspective suggests that (a) the degree to which experience and behavior are dissociated during positive emotional episodes, over and above level of positive behavior, should predict worse psychological functioning and (b) the effect of dissociation should be mediated by social connectedness. To test these hypotheses, we conducted a short-term prospective longitudinal study, with a baseline assessment of depressive symptoms and well-being at Time 1. Six months later, at Time 2, we used a novel within-individual laboratory paradigm to measure the degree to which positive emotional behavior was dissociated from (vs. coherent with) a participant's positive emotional experience. We also assessed level of positive behavior and experience. Then, another 6 months later, we assessed social connectedness as a mediator and depressive symptoms and well-being as outcomes at Time 3. Even when controlling for baseline functioning and for level of positive emotion behavior and experience, we found that greater positive experience-behavior dissociation at Time 2 predicted higher levels of depressive symptoms and lower levels of well-being at Time 3. As predicted, these associations were mediated by social connectedness.

    View details for DOI 10.1037/a0022410

    View details for Web of Science ID 000288776100012

    View details for PubMedID 21280962

  • Anterior cingulate cortex volume and emotion regulation: Is bigger better? BIOLOGICAL PSYCHOLOGY Giuliani, N. R., Drabant, E. M., Gross, J. J. 2011; 86 (3): 379-382


    Emotion dysregulation is a key feature of mood and anxiety disorders. Many of these disorders also involve volumetric reductions in brain regions implicated in emotion regulation, including the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC). Investigating this relationship in healthy individuals may clarify the link between emotion regulation and volumetric reductions in this key brain region. High-resolution anatomical MRI images were used to calculate dACC volumes in 50 healthy female subjects. Trait measures of emotion regulation (cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression) and negative affect were also obtained. As predicted, cognitive reappraisal was positively related to dACC volume, but not the volume of a control region, the ventral ACC. Expressive suppression, negative affect, and age were not related to dACC volume. These findings indicate that individual differences in cognitive reappraisal are related to individual differences in dACC volume in healthy participants.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2010.11.010

    View details for Web of Science ID 000289137500027

    View details for PubMedID 21138751

  • Experiential, autonomic, and neural responses during threat anticipation vary as a function of threat intensity and neuroticism NEUROIMAGE Drabant, E. M., Kuo, J. R., Ramel, W., Blechert, J., Edge, M. D., Cooper, J. R., Goldin, P. R., Hariri, A. R., Gross, J. J. 2011; 55 (1): 401-410


    Anticipatory emotional responses play a crucial role in preparing individuals for impending challenges. They do this by triggering a coordinated set of changes in behavioral, autonomic, and neural response systems. In the present study, we examined the biobehavioral impact of varying levels of anticipatory anxiety, using a shock anticipation task in which unpredictable electric shocks were threatened and delivered to the wrist at variable intervals and intensities (safe, medium, strong). This permitted investigation of a dynamic range of anticipatory anxiety responses. In two studies, 95 and 51 healthy female participants, respectively, underwent this shock anticipation task while providing continuous ratings of anxiety experience and electrodermal responding (Study 1) and during fMRI BOLD neuroimaging (Study 2). Results indicated a step-wise pattern of responding in anxiety experience and electrodermal responses. Several brain regions showed robust responses to shock anticipation relative to safe trials, including the hypothalamus, periaqueductal gray, caudate, precentral gyrus, thalamus, insula, ventrolateral PFC, dorsomedial PFC, and ACC. A subset of these regions demonstrated a linear pattern of increased responding from safe to medium to strong trials, including the bilateral insula, ACC, and inferior frontal gyrus. These responses were modulated by individual differences in neuroticism, such that those high in neuroticism showed exaggerated anxiety experience across the entire task, and reduced brain activation from medium to strong trials in a subset of brain regions. These findings suggest that individual differences in neuroticism may influence sensitivity to anticipatory threat and provide new insights into the mechanism through which neuroticism may confer risk for developing anxiety disorders via dysregulated anticipatory responses.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2010.11.040

    View details for Web of Science ID 000287008900040

    View details for PubMedID 21093595

  • Context-Dependent Emotion Regulation: Suppression and Reappraisal at the Burning Man Festival BASIC AND APPLIED SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY McRae, K., Heller, S. M., John, O. P., Gross, J. J. 2011; 33 (4): 346-350
  • Cognition and Emotion Lecture at the 2010 SPSP Emotion Preconference Emotion generation and emotion regulation: A distinction we should make (carefully) COGNITION & EMOTION Gross, J. J., Sheppes, G., Urry, H. L. 2011; 25 (5): 765-781


    One of the most fundamental distinctions in the field of emotion is the distinction between emotion generation and emotion regulation. This distinction fits comfortably with folk theories, which view emotions as passions that arise unbidden and then must be controlled. But is it really helpful to distinguish between emotion generation and emotion regulation? In this article, we begin by offering working definitions of emotion generation and emotion regulation. We argue that in some circumstances, the distinction between emotion generation and emotion regulation is indeed useful. We point both to citation patterns, which indicate that researchers from across a number of sub-areas within psychology are making this distinction, and to empirical studies, which indicate the utility of this distinction in many different research contexts. We then consider five ways in which the distinction between emotion generation and emotion regulation can be problematic. We suggest that it is time to move beyond debates about whether this distinction is useful to a more specific consideration of when and in what ways this distinction is useful, and in this spirit, we offer recommendations for future research.

    View details for DOI 10.1080/02699931.2011.555753

    View details for Web of Science ID 000299562700001

    View details for PubMedID 21824019

  • Emotion Generation and Emotion Regulation: One or Two Depends on Your Point of View EMOTION REVIEW Gross, J. J., Barrett, L. F. 2011; 3 (1): 8-16


    Emotion regulation has the odd distinction of being a wildly popular construct whose scientific existence is in considerable doubt. In this article, we discuss the confusion about whether emotion generation and emotion regulation can and should be distinguished from one another. We describe a continuum of perspectives on emotion, and highlight how different (often mutually incompatible) perspectives on emotion lead to different views about whether emotion generation and emotion regulation can be usefully distinguished. We argue that making differences in perspective explicit serves the function of allowing researchers with different theoretical commitments to collaborate productively despite seemingly insurmountable differences in terminology and methods.

    View details for DOI 10.1177/1754073910380974

    View details for Web of Science ID 000306271500002

  • Explicit and implicit emotion regulation: A dual-process framework COGNITION & EMOTION Gyurak, A., Gross, J. J., Etkin, A. 2011; 25 (3): 400-412


    It is widely acknowledged that emotions can be regulated in an astonishing variety of ways. Most research to date has focused on explicit (effortful) forms of emotion regulation. However, there is growing research interest in implicit (automatic) forms of emotion regulation. To organise emerging findings, we present a dual-process framework that integrates explicit and implicit forms of emotion regulation, and argue that both forms of regulation are necessary for well-being. In the first section of this review, we provide a broad overview of the construct of emotion regulation, with an emphasis on explicit and implicit processes. In the second section, we focus on explicit emotion regulation, considering both neural mechanisms that are associated with these processes and their experiential and physiological consequences. In the third section, we turn to several forms of implicit emotion regulation, and integrate the burgeoning literature in this area. We conclude by outlining open questions and areas for future research.

    View details for DOI 10.1080/02699931.2010.544160

    View details for Web of Science ID 000288672700002

    View details for PubMedID 21432682

  • Misery Has More Company Than People Think: Underestimating the Prevalence of Others' Negative Emotions PERSONALITY AND SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY BULLETIN Jordan, A. H., Monin, B., Dweck, C. S., Lovett, B. J., John, O. P., Gross, J. J. 2011; 37 (1): 120-135


    Four studies document underestimations of the prevalence of others' negative emotions and suggest causes and correlates of these erroneous perceptions. In Study 1a, participants reported that their negative emotions were more private or hidden than were their positive emotions; in Study 1b, participants underestimated the peer prevalence of common negative, but not positive, experiences described in Study 1a. In Study 2, people underestimated negative emotions and overestimated positive emotions even for well-known peers, and this effect was partially mediated by the degree to which those peers reported suppression of negative (vs. positive) emotions. Study 3 showed that lower estimations of the prevalence of negative emotional experiences predicted greater loneliness and rumination and lower life satisfaction and that higher estimations for positive emotional experiences predicted lower life satisfaction. Taken together, these studies suggest that people may think they are more alone in their emotional difficulties than they really are.

    View details for DOI 10.1177/0146167210390822

    View details for Web of Science ID 000285544600010

    View details for PubMedID 21177878

  • Posttraumatic stress, difficulties in emotion regulation, and coping-oriented marijuana use. Cognitive behaviour therapy Bonn-Miller, M. O., Vujanovic, A. A., Boden, M. T., Gross, J. J. 2011; 40 (1): 34-44


    In an effort to better understand factors that may explain prior findings of a positive relation between posttraumatic stress symptom severity and coping-oriented marijuana use motivation, the present study tested whether the association between posttraumatic stress symptom severity and marijuana use coping motives is mediated by difficulties in emotion regulation. Participants were 79 (39 women; M(age) = 22.29 years, SD = 6.99) community-recruited adults who reported (1) lifetime exposure to at least one posttraumatic stress disorder Criterion A traumatic event and (2) marijuana use in the past 30 days. Results indicated that difficulties in emotion regulation, as indexed by the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (Gratz & Roemer, 2004), fully mediated the association between posttraumatic stress symptom severity and marijuana use coping motives. Implications for the treatment of co-occurring posttraumatic stress and marijuana use are discussed.

    View details for DOI 10.1080/16506073.2010.525253

    View details for PubMedID 21337213

  • Emotion Regulation in Older Age CURRENT DIRECTIONS IN PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE Urry, H. L., Gross, J. J. 2010; 19 (6): 352-357
  • Cognitive Reappraisal of Negative Affect: Converging Evidence From EMG and Self-Report EMOTION Ray, R. D., McRae, K., Ochsner, K. N., Gross, J. J. 2010; 10 (4): 587-592


    Prior psychophysiological studies of cognitive reappraisal have generally focused on the down-regulation of negative affect, and have demonstrated either changes in self-reports of affective experience, or changes in facial electromyography, but not both. Unfortunately, when taken separately, these measures are vulnerable to different sources of bias, and alternative explanations might account for changes in these indicators of negative affect. What is needed is a study that (a) obtains measures of self-reported affect together with facial electromyography, and (b) examines the use of reappraisal to regulate externally and internally generated affective responses. In the present study, participants up- or down-regulated negative affect in the context of both negative and neutral pictures. Up-regulation led to greater self reports of negative affect, as well as greater corrugator and startle responses to both negative and neutral stimuli. Down-regulation led to lesser reports of negative affect, and lesser corrugator responses to negative and neutral stimuli. These results extend prior research by (a) showing simultaneous effects on multiple measures of affect, and (b) demonstrating that cognitive reappraisal may be used both to regulate responses to negative stimuli and to manufacture a negative response to neutral stimuli.

    View details for DOI 10.1037/a001901533

    View details for Web of Science ID 000280829700013

    View details for PubMedID 20677875

  • Interdependent self-construal and neural representations of self and mother SOCIAL COGNITIVE AND AFFECTIVE NEUROSCIENCE Ray, R. D., Shelton, A. L., Hollon, N. G., Matsumoto, D., Frankel, C. B., Gross, J. J., Gabrieli, J. D. 2010; 5 (2-3): 318-323


    Representations of self are thought to be dynamically influenced by one's surroundings, including the culture one lives in. However, neuroimaging studies of self-representations have either ignored cultural influences or operationalized culture as country of origin. The present study used functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine the neural correlates of individual differences in interdependent self-construal. Participants rated whether trait adjectives applied to themselves or their mothers, or judged their valence or font. Findings indicated that individual differences in interdependent self-construal correlated positively with increased activation in the medial prefrontal cortex and posterior cingulated cortex when making judgments about one-self vs making judgments about one's mother. This suggests that those with greater interdependent self-construals may rely more upon episodic memory, reflected appraisals, or theory of mind to incorporate social information to make judgments about themselves.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/scan/nsp039

    View details for Web of Science ID 000282071900023

    View details for PubMedID 19822601

  • Healthy young women with serotonin transporter SS polymorphism show a pro-inflammatory bias under resting and stress conditions BRAIN BEHAVIOR AND IMMUNITY Fredericks, C. A., Drabant, E. M., Edge, M. D., Tillie, J. M., Hallmayer, J., Ramel, W., Kuo, J. R., Mackey, S., Gross, J. J., Dhabhar, F. S. 2010; 24 (3): 350-357


    The study of functionally relevant biological effects of serotonin transporter gene promoter region (5-HTTLPR) polymorphisms is especially important given the current controversy about the clinical relevance of these polymorphisms. Here we report an intrinsic immunobiological difference between individuals carrying two short (SS) versus long (LL) 5-HTTLPR alleles, that is observed in healthy subjects reporting low exposure to life stress. Given that 5-HTTLPR polymorphisms are thought to influence susceptibility to depression and are associated with robust neurobiological effects, that depression is associated with higher pro-inflammatory and lower anti-inflammatory cytokines, and that acute stressors increase circulating concentrations of pro-inflammatory cytokines, we hypothesized that compared to LL individuals, SS individuals may show a pro-inflammatory bias under resting conditions and/or during stress. 15 LL and 11 SS individuals participated in the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST). Serum IL-6 and IL-10 were quantified at baseline and 30, 60, 90, and 120min after beginning the 20-min stress test. Compared to LL individuals, SS individuals showed a higher IL-6/IL-10 ratio at baseline and during stress. Importantly, this pro-inflammatory bias was observed despite both groups being healthy, reporting similar intensities of stress and negative emotionality during the TSST, and reporting similar low exposures to early and recent life stress. To our knowledge, this is the first report of a pro-inflammatory bias/phenotype in individuals carrying the SS genotype of 5-HTTLPR. Thus, healthy SS individuals may be chronically exposed to a pro-inflammatory physiological burden under resting and stress conditions, which could increase their vulnerability to disorders like depression and other diseases that can be facilitated/exacerbated by a chronic pro-inflammatory state.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.bbi.2009.10.014

    View details for Web of Science ID 000275217300004

    View details for PubMedID 19883751

  • Effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) on Emotion Regulation in Social Anxiety Disorder EMOTION Goldin, P. R., Gross, J. J. 2010; 10 (1): 83-91


    Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is an established program shown to reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression. MBSR is believed to alter emotional responding by modifying cognitive-affective processes. Given that social anxiety disorder (SAD) is characterized by emotional and attentional biases as well as distorted negative self-beliefs, we examined MBSR-related changes in the brain-behavior indices of emotional reactivity and regulation of negative self-beliefs in patients with SAD. Sixteen patients underwent functional MRI while reacting to negative self-beliefs and while regulating negative emotions using 2 types of attention deployment emotion regulation-breath-focused attention and distraction-focused attention. Post-MBSR, 14 patients completed neuroimaging assessments. Compared with baseline, MBSR completers showed improvement in anxiety and depression symptoms and self-esteem. During the breath-focused attention task (but not the distraction-focused attention task), they also showed (a) decreased negative emotion experience, (b) reduced amygdala activity, and (c) increased activity in brain regions implicated in attentional deployment. MBSR training in patients with SAD may reduce emotional reactivity while enhancing emotion regulation. These changes might facilitate reduction in SAD-related avoidance behaviors, clinical symptoms, and automatic emotional reactivity to negative self-beliefs in adults with SAD.

    View details for DOI 10.1037/a0018441

    View details for Web of Science ID 000274400800011

    View details for PubMedID 20141305

  • The Neural Bases of Distraction and Reappraisal JOURNAL OF COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE McRae, K., Hughes, B., Chopra, S., Gabrieli, J. D., Gross, J. J., Ochsner, K. N. 2010; 22 (2): 248-262


    Distraction and reappraisal are two commonly used forms of cognitive emotion regulation. Functional neuroimaging studies have shown that each one depends upon interactions between pFC, interpreted as implementing cognitive control, and limbic regions, interpreted as mediating emotional responses. However, no study has directly compared distraction with reappraisal, and it remains unclear whether they draw upon different neural mechanisms and have different emotional consequences. The present fMRI study compared distraction and reappraisal and found both similarities and differences between the two forms of emotion regulation. Both resulted in decreased negative affect, decreased activation in the amygdala, and increased activation in prefrontal and cingulate regions. Relative to distraction, reappraisal led to greater decreases in negative affect and to greater increases in a network of regions associated with processing affective meaning (medial prefrontal and anterior temporal cortices). Relative to reappraisal, distraction led to greater decreases in amygdala activation and to greater increases in activation in prefrontal and parietal regions. Taken together, these data suggest that distraction and reappraisal differentially engage neural systems involved in attentional deployment and cognitive reframing and have different emotional consequences.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000274034500004

    View details for PubMedID 19400679

  • An Italian Adaptation of the Emotion Regulation Questionnaire EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT Balzarotti, S., John, O. P., Gross, J. J. 2010; 26 (1): 61-67
  • Neural Mechanisms of Cognitive Reappraisal of Negative Self-Beliefs in Social Anxiety Disorder BIOLOGICAL PSYCHIATRY Goldin, P. R., Manber-Ball, T., Werner, K., Heimberg, R., Gross, J. J. 2009; 66 (12): 1091-1099


    Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is characterized by distorted negative self-beliefs (NSBs), which are thought to enhance emotional reactivity, interfere with emotion regulation, and undermine social functioning. Cognitive reappraisal is a type of emotion regulation used to alter NSBs, with the goal of modulating emotional reactivity. Despite its relevance, little is known about the neural bases and temporal features of cognitive reappraisal in patients with SAD.Twenty-seven patients with SAD and 27 healthy control subjects (HCs) were trained to react and to implement cognitive reappraisal to downregulate negative emotional reactivity to NSBs, while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging and providing ratings of negative emotion experience.Behaviorally, compared with HCs, patients with SAD reported greater negative emotion both while reacting to and reappraising NSBs. However, when cued, participants in both groups were able to use cognitive reappraisal to decrease negative emotion. Neurally, reacting to NSBs resulted in early amygdala response in both groups. Reappraising NSBs resulted in greater early cognitive control, language, and visual processing in HCs but greater late cognitive control, visceral, and visual processing in patients with SAD. Functional connectivity analysis during reappraisal identified more regulatory regions inversely related to left amygdala in HCs than in patients with SAD. Reappraisal-related brain regions that differentiated patients and control subjects were associated with negative emotion ratings and cognitive reappraisal self-efficacy.Findings regarding cognitive reappraisal suggest neural timing, connectivity, and brain-behavioral associations specific to patients with SAD and elucidate neural mechanisms that might serve as biomarkers of interventions for SAD.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.biopsych.2009.07.014

    View details for Web of Science ID 000272599500004

    View details for PubMedID 19717138

  • Bottom-Up and Top-Down Processes in Emotion Generation: Common and Distinct Neural Mechanisms PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE Ochsner, K. N., Ray, R. R., Hughes, B., McRae, K., Cooper, J. C., Weber, J., Gabrieli, J. D., Gross, J. J. 2009; 20 (11): 1322-1331


    Emotions are generally thought to arise through the interaction of bottom-up and top-down processes. However, prior work has not delineated their relative contributions. In a sample of 20 females, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging to compare the neural correlates of negative emotions generated by the bottom-up perception of aversive images and by the top-down interpretation of neutral images as aversive. We found that (a) both types of responses activated the amygdala, although bottom-up responses did so more strongly; (b) bottom-up responses activated systems for attending to and encoding perceptual and affective stimulus properties, whereas top-down responses activated prefrontal regions that represent high-level cognitive interpretations; and (c) self-reported affect correlated with activity in the amygdala during bottom-up responding and with activity in the medial prefrontal cortex during top-down responding. These findings provide a neural foundation for emotion theories that posit multiple kinds of appraisal processes and help to clarify mechanisms underlying clinically relevant forms of emotion dysregulation.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000271526700005

    View details for PubMedID 19883494



    Severe early life stress (ELS) is associated with negative outcomes. It is not clear, however, what impact moderate ELS has. A growing stress inoculation literature suggests that moderate (vs. low or high) ELS is associated with diminished behavioral and physiological anxiety responses. At the same time, studies of trait anxiety suggest that moderate (vs. low) ELS is associated with greater self-reported anxiety. This study tested the hypothesis that stress inoculation effects are evident for implicit (nonconscious) but not explicit (conscious) aspects of anxiety.Ninety-seven healthy women were assessed for ELS and explicit anxiety using questionnaires and assessed for implicit anxiety using a version of the Implicit Association Test.Results indicated a quadratic relation between ELS and implicit anxiety, such that moderate ELS was associated with lower implicit anxiety levels than low or high ELS. By contrast, the relation between ELS and explicit anxiety was linear.These findings support the stress inoculation hypothesis and suggest that stress inoculation applies for implicit but not explicit aspects of anxiety.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/da.20592

    View details for Web of Science ID 000269685500008

    View details for PubMedID 19569055

  • Cognitive and Neural Development of Individuated Self-Representation in Children CHILD DEVELOPMENT Ray, R. D., Shelton, A. L., Hollon, N. G., Michel, B. D., Frankel, C. B., Gross, J. J., Gabrieli, J. D. 2009; 80 (4): 1232-1242


    Processing the self-relevance of information facilitates recall. Similarly, processing close-other-related information facilitates recall to a lesser degree than processing self-relevant information. This memory advantage may be viewed as an index of the degree to which the representation of self is differentiated from representations of close others. To test developmental hypotheses concerning the self, this study examined the relation of memory for self- and mother-referentially processed information in participants age 7-13 years (Experiment 1: N = 37; Experiment 2: N = 14). Memory for words encoded with reference to oneself increases with age, relative to memory for words encoded with reference to one's mother. When used as an individual difference measure, the difference in self versus mother memory correlates with regions of the rostral anterior cingulate associated with affective salience.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000268051200019

    View details for PubMedID 19630904

  • Individual Differences in Typical Reappraisal Use Predict Amygdala and Prefrontal Responses BIOLOGICAL PSYCHIATRY Drabant, E. M., McRae, K., Manuck, S. B., Hariri, A. R., Gross, J. J. 2009; 65 (5): 367-373


    Participants who are instructed to use reappraisal to downregulate negative emotion show decreased amygdala responses and increased prefrontal responses. However, it is not known whether individual differences in the tendency to use reappraisal manifests in similar neural responses when individuals are spontaneously confronted with negative situations. Such spontaneous emotion regulation might play an important role in normal and pathological responses to the emotional challenges of everyday life.Fifty-six healthy women completed a blood oxygenation-level dependent functional magnetic resonance imaging challenge paradigm involving the perceptual processing of emotionally negative facial expressions. Participants also completed measures of typical emotion regulation use, trait anxiety, and neuroticism.Greater use of reappraisal in everyday life was related to decreased amygdala activity and increased prefrontal and parietal activity during the processing of negative emotional facial expressions. These associations were not attributable to variation in trait anxiety, neuroticism, or the use of another common form of emotion regulation, namely suppression.These findings suggest that, like instructed reappraisal, individual differences in reappraisal use are associated with decreased activation in ventral emotion generative regions and increased activation in prefrontal control regions in response to negative stimuli. Such individual differences in emotion regulation might predict successful coping with emotional challenges as well as the onset of affective disorders.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.biopsych.2008.09.007

    View details for Web of Science ID 000263455300003

    View details for PubMedID 18930182

  • Neural Bases of Social Anxiety Disorder Emotional Reactivity and Cognitive Regulation During Social and Physical Threat ARCHIVES OF GENERAL PSYCHIATRY Goldin, P. R., Manber, T., Hakimi, S., Canli, T., Gross, J. J. 2009; 66 (2): 170-180


    Social anxiety disorder is thought to involve emotional hyperreactivity, cognitive distortions, and ineffective emotion regulation. While the neural bases of emotional reactivity to social stimuli have been described, the neural bases of emotional reactivity and cognitive regulation during social and physical threat, and their relationship to social anxiety symptom severity, have yet to be investigated.To investigate behavioral and neural correlates of emotional reactivity and cognitive regulation in patients and controls during processing of social and physical threat stimuli.Participants were trained to implement cognitive-linguistic regulation of emotional reactivity induced by social (harsh facial expressions) and physical (violent scenes) threat while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging and providing behavioral ratings of negative emotion experience.Academic psychology department.Fifteen adults with social anxiety disorder and 17 demographically matched healthy controls.Blood oxygen level-dependent signal and negative emotion ratings.Behaviorally, patients reported greater negative emotion than controls during social and physical threat but showed equivalent reduction in negative emotion following cognitive regulation. Neurally, viewing social threat resulted in greater emotion-related neural responses in patients than controls, with social anxiety symptom severity related to activity in a network of emotion- and attention-processing regions in patients only. Viewing physical threat produced no between-group differences. Regulation during social threat resulted in greater cognitive and attention regulation-related brain activation in controls compared with patients. Regulation during physical threat produced greater cognitive control-related response (ie, right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex) in patients compared with controls.Compared with controls, patients demonstrated exaggerated negative emotion reactivity and reduced cognitive regulation-related neural activation, specifically for social threat stimuli. These findings help to elucidate potential neural mechanisms of emotion regulation that might serve as biomarkers for interventions for social anxiety disorder.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000262992200009

    View details for PubMedID 19188539

  • Cardiovascular costs of emotion suppression cross ethnic lines INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY Roberts, N. A., Levenson, R. W., Gross, J. J. 2008; 70 (1): 82-87


    Previous research has shown that inhibiting emotion-expressive behavior (emotion suppression) leads to increased sympathetic activation of the cardiovascular system [Gross, J.J. and Levenson, R.W. (1993). Emotional suppression: physiology, self-report, and expressive behavior. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 64(6), 970-986]. Ethnic differences have been reported in how frequently suppression is used as an emotion regulation strategy [Gross, J.J. and John, O. (2003). Individual differences in two emotion regulation processes: implications for affect, relationships, and well-being. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 85(2), 348-362]; however, it remains unknown whether there are ethnic differences in the physiological consequences of suppression. To test this, 168 participants from four ethnic groups (African American, Chinese American, European American, Mexican American) watched a disgust-eliciting film clip; half were instructed to suppress their emotions and half simply watched the film. Consistent with previous research, suppression was associated with decreased facial behavior, increased cardiovascular activation, and no impact on subjective emotional experience. Ethnicity failed to moderate these effects, indicating the generality of the cardiovascular consequences of emotion suppression across ethnic background.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2008.06.003

    View details for Web of Science ID 000260125200011

    View details for PubMedID 18621086

  • The Up- and Down-Regulation of Amusement: Experiential, Behavioral, and Autonomic Consequences EMOTION Giuliani, N. R., McRae, K., Gross, J. J. 2008; 8 (5): 714-719


    A growing body of research has examined the regulation of negative emotions. However, little is known about the physiological processes underlying the regulation of positive emotions, such as when amusement is enhanced during periods of stress or attenuated in the pursuit of social goals. The aim of this study was to examine the psychophysiological consequences of the cognitive up- and down-regulation of amusement. To address this goal, participants viewed brief, amusing film clips while measurements of experience, behavior, and peripheral physiology were collected. Using an event-related design, participants viewed each film under the instructions either to (a) watch, (b) use cognitive reappraisal to increase amusement, or (c) use cognitive reappraisal to decrease amusement. Findings indicated that emotion experience, emotion-expressive behavior, and autonomic physiology (including heart rate, respiration, and sympathetic nervous system activation) were enhanced and diminished in accordance with regulation instructions. This finding is a critical extension of the growing literature on the voluntary regulation of emotion, and has the potential to help us better understand how people use humor in the service of coping and social goals.

    View details for DOI 10.1037/a0013236

    View details for Web of Science ID 000259842500013

    View details for PubMedID 18837622

  • Loving-Kindness Meditation Increases Social Connectedness EMOTION Hutcherson, C. A., Seppala, E. M., Gross, J. J. 2008; 8 (5): 720-724


    The need for social connection is a fundamental human motive, and it is increasingly clear that feeling socially connected confers mental and physical health benefits. However, in many cultures, societal changes are leading to growing social distrust and alienation. Can feelings of social connection and positivity toward others be increased? Is it possible to self-generate these feelings? In this study, the authors used a brief loving-kindness meditation exercise to examine whether social connection could be created toward strangers in a controlled laboratory context. Compared with a closely matched control task, even just a few minutes of loving-kindness meditation increased feelings of social connection and positivity toward novel individuals on both explicit and implicit levels. These results suggest that this easily implemented technique may help to increase positive social emotions and decrease social isolation.

    View details for DOI 10.1037/a0013237

    View details for Web of Science ID 000259842500014

    View details for PubMedID 18837623

  • Self-representation in social anxiety disorder: Linguistic analysis of autobiographical narratives BEHAVIOUR RESEARCH AND THERAPY Anderson, B., Goldin, P. R., Kurita, K., Gross, J. J. 2008; 46 (10): 1119-1125


    Cognitive models of social anxiety disorder (SAD) posit aberrant beliefs about the social self as a key psychological mechanism that maintains fear of negative evaluation in social and performance situations. Consequently, a distorted self-view should be evident when recalling painful autobiographical social memories, as reflected in linguistic expression, negative self-beliefs, and emotion and avoidance. To test this hypothesis, 42 adults diagnosed with SAD and 27 non-psychiatric healthy controls (HC) composed autobiographical narratives of distinct social anxiety related situations, generated negative self-beliefs (NSB), and provided emotion and avoidance ratings. Although narratives were matched for initial emotional intensity and present vividness, linguistic analyses demonstrated that, compared to HC, SAD employed more self-referential, anxiety, and sensory words, and made fewer references to other people. There were no differences in the number of self-referential NSB identified by SAD and HC. Social anxiety symptom severity, however, was associated with greater self-referential NSB in SAD only. SAD reported greater current self-conscious emotions when recalling autobiographical social situations, and greater active avoidance of similar situations than did HC. These findings support cognitive models of SAD, and suggest that autobiographical memory of social situations in SAD may influence current and future thinking, emotion, and behavioral avoidance.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.brat.2008.07.001

    View details for Web of Science ID 000259888500003

    View details for PubMedID 18722589

  • Real-time classification of evoked emotions using facial feature tracking and physiological responses INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMAN-COMPUTER STUDIES Bailenson, J. N., Pontikakis, E. D., Mauss, I. B., Gross, J. J., Jabon, M. E., Hutcherson, C. A., Nass, C., John, O. 2008; 66 (5): 303-317
  • Gender differences in emotion regulation: An fMRI study of cognitive reappraisal GROUP PROCESSES & INTERGROUP RELATIONS McRae, K., Ochsner, K. N., Mauss, I. B., Gabrieli, J. J., Gross, J. J. 2008; 11 (2): 143-162
  • Cognitive emotion regulation: Insights from social cognitive and affective neuroscience CURRENT DIRECTIONS IN PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE Ochsner, K. N., Gross, J. J. 2008; 17 (2): 153-158
  • The neural bases of emotion regulation: Reappraisal and suppression of negative emotion BIOLOGICAL PSYCHIATRY Goldin, P. R., McRae, K., Ramel, W., Gross, J. J. 2008; 63 (6): 577-586


    Emotion regulation strategies are thought to differ in when and how they influence the emotion-generative process. However, no study to date has directly probed the neural bases of two contrasting (e.g., cognitive versus behavioral) emotion regulation strategies. This study used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine cognitive reappraisal (a cognitive strategy thought to have its impact early in the emotion-generative process) and expressive suppression (a behavioral strategy thought to have its impact later in the emotion-generative process).Seventeen women viewed 15 sec neutral and negative emotion-eliciting films under four conditions--watch-neutral, watch-negative, reappraise-negative, and suppress-negative--while providing emotion experience ratings and having their facial expressions videotaped.Reappraisal resulted in early (0-4.5 sec) prefrontal cortex (PFC) responses, decreased negative emotion experience, and decreased amygdala and insular responses. Suppression produced late (10.5-15 sec) PFC responses, decreased negative emotion behavior and experience, but increased amygdala and insular responses.These findings demonstrate the differential efficacy of reappraisal and suppression on emotional experience, facial behavior, and neural response and highlight intriguing differences in the temporal dynamics of these two emotion regulation strategies.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.biopsych.2007.05.031

    View details for Web of Science ID 000253618300008

    View details for PubMedID 17888411

  • Attention and emotion influence the relationship between extraversion and neural response SOCIAL COGNITIVE AND AFFECTIVE NEUROSCIENCE Hutcherson, C. A., Goldin, P. R., Ramel, W., McRae, K., Gross, J. J. 2008; 3 (1): 71-79


    Extraversion has been shown to positively correlate with activation within the ventral striatum, amygdala and other dopaminergically innervated, reward-sensitive regions. These regions are implicated in emotional responding, in a manner sensitive to attentional focus. However, no study has investigated the interaction among extraversion, emotion and attention. We used fMRI and dynamic, evocative film clips to elicit amusement and sadness in a sample of 28 women. Participants were instructed either to respond naturally (n = 14) or to attend to and continuously rate their emotions (n = 14) while watching the films. Contrary to expectations, striatal response was negatively associated with extraversion during amusement, regardless of attention. A negative association was also observed during sad films, but only when attending to emotion. These findings suggest that attentional focus does not influence the relationship between extraversion and neural response to positive (amusing) stimuli but does impact the response to negative (sad) stimuli.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/scan/nsm040

    View details for Web of Science ID 000256174000009

    View details for PubMedID 19015097

  • All in the mind's eye? Anger rumination and reappraisal JOURNAL OF PERSONALITY AND SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY Ray, R. D., Wilhelm, F. H., Gross, J. J. 2008; 94 (1): 133-145


    Research on rumination has demonstrated that compared with distraction, rumination intensifies and prolongs negative emotion. However, rumination and distraction differ both in what one thinks about and how one thinks about it. Do the negative outcomes of rumination result from how people think about negative events or simply that they think about them at all? To address this question, participants in 2 studies recalled a recent anger-provoking event and then thought about it in 1 of 2 ways: by ruminating or by reappraising. The authors examined the impact of these strategies on subsequent ratings of anger experience (Study 1) as well as on perseverative thinking and physiological responding over time (Study 2). Relative to reappraisal, rumination led to greater anger experience, more cognitive perseveration, and greater sympathetic nervous system activation. These findings provide compelling new evidence that how one thinks about an emotional event can shape the emotional response one has.

    View details for DOI 10.1037/0022-3514.94.1.133

    View details for Web of Science ID 000251826500010

    View details for PubMedID 18179323

  • German version of the Berkeley Expressivity Questionnaire DIAGNOSTICA Mohiyeddini, C., John, O., Gross, J. J. 2008; 54 (3): 117-128
  • Individual differences in cognitive reappraisal: Experiential and physiological responses to an anger provocation INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY Mauss, I. B., Cook, C. L., Cheng, J. Y., Gross, J. J. 2007; 66 (2): 116-124


    Effective emotion regulation is widely seen as vital for healthy adaptation. There remains considerable uncertainty, however, as to what constitutes effective emotion regulation. One promising emotion regulation strategy is cognitive reappraisal, which involves reframing emotional events so as to decrease their emotional impact. This strategy is useful because it seems to enable individuals to down-regulate negative feelings without the physiological costs that are associated with other forms of emotion regulation. It remains unknown, however, whether individual differences in the use of reappraisal are associated with experiential and physiological responses to anger-inducing situations. To examine this question, individuals either high or low in reappraisal were made angry in the laboratory while emotion experience and cardiovascular responses were assessed. Results indicated that compared to low reappraisers, high reappraisers had a more adaptive profile of emotion experience and cardiovascular responding. Specifically, across baseline and provocation periods, high reappraisers reported less anger, less negative emotion, and more positive emotion, showed greater cardiac output and ventricular contractility, and lesser total peripheral resistance. These findings suggest that reappraisers are successful at down-regulating negative emotions, even in the context of a potent negative emotion such as anger.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2007.03.017

    View details for Web of Science ID 000251432600005

    View details for PubMedID 17543404

  • Signaling threat: How situational cues affect women in math, science, and engineering settings PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE Murphy, M. C., Steele, C. M., Gross, J. J. 2007; 18 (10): 879-885


    This study examined the cues hypothesis, which holds that situational cues, such as a setting's features and organization, can make potential targets vulnerable to social identity threat. Objective and subjective measures of identity threat were collected from male and female math, science, and engineering (MSE) majors who watched an MSE conference video depicting either an unbalanced ratio of men to women or a balanced ratio. Women who viewed the unbalanced video exhibited more cognitive and physiological vigilance, and reported a lower sense of belonging and less desire to participate in the conference, than did women who viewed the gender-balanced video. Men were unaffected by this situational cue. The implications for understanding vulnerability to social identity threat, particularly among women in MSE settings, are discussed.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000249827200007

    View details for PubMedID 17894605

  • Automatic emotion regulation during anger provocation JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY Mauss, I. B., Cook, C. L., Gross, J. J. 2007; 43 (5): 698-711
  • Same situation - Different emotions: How appraisals shape our emotions EMOTION Siemer, M., Mauss, I., Gross, J. J. 2007; 7 (3): 592-600


    Appraisal theories of emotion hold that it is the way a person interprets a situation--rather than the situation itself--that gives rise to one emotion rather than another emotion (or no emotion at all). Unfortunately, most prior tests of this foundational hypothesis have simultaneously varied situations and appraisals, making an evaluation of this assumption difficult. In the present study, participants responded to a standardized laboratory situation with a variety of different emotions. Appraisals predicted the intensity of individual emotions across participants. In addition, subgroups of participants with similar emotional response profiles made comparable appraisals. Together, these findings suggest that appraisals may be necessary and sufficient to determine different emotional reactions toward a particular situation.

    View details for DOI 10.1037/1528-3542.7.3.592

    View details for Web of Science ID 000248532900013

    View details for PubMedID 17683215

  • Harnessing the need for immediate gratification: Cognitive reconstrual modulates the reward value of temptations EMOTION Magen, E., Gross, J. J. 2007; 7 (2): 415-428


    Many of us succumb to temptations, despite knowing that we will later regret doing so. How can such behavior be avoided? In three studies, the authors tested the hypothesis that reconstruing temptation as a test of a valued internal quality ("willpower") would decrease the tendency to succumb by reducing the appeal of the temptation. In Study 1, participants who construed a challenging handgrip task as a test of willpower resisted the temptation to terminate the painful task longer than participants who did not. In Study 2, participants performed a handgrip task twice. Only participants who changed their construal of the task into a test of willpower improved their performance. In Study 3, participants took a timed math test while being tempted by comedy clips. Participants who reconstrued the situation as willpower test compared with participants who did not, (a) enjoyed the videos less, and (b) were better able to resist the tempting videos. These studies demonstrate that cognitive reconstrual can be used to modify reward contingencies, so that succumbing to temptation becomes less appealing, and resisting temptation becomes more appealing.

    View details for DOI 10.1037/1528-3542.7.2.415

    View details for Web of Science ID 000246412200017

    View details for PubMedID 17516818

  • Does repressive coping promote resilience? Affective-autonomic response discrepancy during bereavement JOURNAL OF PERSONALITY AND SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY Coifman, K. G., Bonanno, G. A., Ray, R. D., Gross, J. J. 2007; 92 (4): 745-758


    Traditional theories of coping emphasize the value of attending to and expressing negative emotion while recovering from traumatic life events. However, recent evidence suggests that the tendency to direct attention away from negative affective experience (i.e., repressive coping) may promote resilience following extremely aversive events (e.g., the death of a spouse). The current study extends this line of investigation by showing that both bereaved and nonbereaved individuals who exhibited repressive coping behavior--as measured by the discrepancy between affective experience and sympathetic nervous system response--had fewer symptoms of psychopathology, experienced fewer health problems and somatic complaints, and were rated as better adjusted by close friends than those who did not exhibit repressive coping. Results are discussed in terms of recent developments in cognitive and neuroimaging research suggesting that repressive coping may serve a protective function.

    View details for DOI 10.1037/0022-3514.92.4.745

    View details for Web of Science ID 000245641700012

    View details for PubMedID 17469956

  • Emotion regulation and culture: Are the social consequences of emotion suppression culture-specific? EMOTION Butler, E. A., Lee, T. L., Gross, J. J. 2007; 7 (1): 30-48


    Emotional suppression has been associated with generally negative social consequences (Butler et al., 2003; Gross & John, 2003). A cultural perspective suggests, however, that these consequences may be moderated by cultural values. We tested this hypothesis in a two-part study, and found that, for Americans holding Western-European values, habitual suppression was associated with self-protective goals and negative emotion. In addition, experimentally elicited suppression resulted in reduced interpersonal responsiveness during face-to-face interaction, along with negative partner-perceptions and hostile behavior. These deleterious effects were reduced when individuals with more Asian values suppressed, and these reductions were mediated by cultural differences in the responsiveness of the suppressors. These findings suggest that many of suppression's negative social impacts may be moderated by cultural values.

    View details for DOI 10.1037/1528-3542.7.1.30

    View details for Web of Science ID 000244491500004

    View details for PubMedID 17352561

  • The experience of emotion ANNUAL REVIEW OF PSYCHOLOGY Barrett, L. F., Mesquita, B., Ochsner, K. N., Gross, J. J. 2007; 58: 373-403


    Experiences of emotion are content-rich events that emerge at the level of psychological description, but must be causally constituted by neurobiological processes. This chapter outlines an emerging scientific agenda for understanding what these experiences feel like and how they arise. We review the available answers to what is felt (i.e., the content that makes up an experience of emotion) and how neurobiological processes instantiate these properties of experience. These answers are then integrated into a broad framework that describes, in psychological terms, how the experience of emotion emerges from more basic processes. We then discuss the role of such experiences in the economy of the mind and behavior.

    View details for DOI 10.1146/annurev.psych.58.110405.085709

    View details for Web of Science ID 000243900200015

    View details for PubMedID 17002554

  • Respiratory sinus arrhythmia, emotion, and emotion regulation during social interaction PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY Butler, E. A., Wilhelm, F. H., Gross, J. J. 2006; 43 (6): 612-622


    Respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) figures prominently in emotional responding, but its exact role remains unclear. The present study tests two hypotheses: (1) Between-person differences in resting RSA are related to emotional reactivity, and (2) within-person changes in RSA are related to regulatory efforts. Pairs of women watched an upsetting film and discussed it. One woman in each of the experimental dyads was asked to either suppress or to reappraise during the conversation. Their partners and both members of the control dyads conversed naturally. Between-person differences in resting RSA were assessed with paced breathing, and within-person changes in RSA were calculated from baseline to the conversation accounting for respiration. Women with higher resting RSA experienced and expressed more negative emotion, and women who attempted to regulate their emotions either by suppressing or reappraising showed larger increases in RSA than controls.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1469-8986.2006.00467.x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000241626200011

    View details for PubMedID 17076818

  • Personality and emotional memory: How regulating emotion impairs memory for emotional events JOURNAL OF RESEARCH IN PERSONALITY Richards, J. M., Gross, J. J. 2006; 40 (5): 631-651
  • How to bite your tongue without blowing your top: Implicit evaluation of emotion regulation predicts affective responding to anger provocation PERSONALITY AND SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY BULLETIN Mauss, I. B., Evers, C., Wilhelm, F. H., Gross, J. J. 2006; 32 (5): 589-602


    People frequently have to control their emotions to function in life. However, mounting evidence suggests that deliberate emotion regulation often is costly. This presents a dilemma: Is it better to let emotions go or to pay the price of exerting costly control? In two studies, the authors explore whether emotion regulatory processes associated with implicit positive evaluation of emotion regulation might provide the benefits of successful emotion regulation without the costs. In Study 1, the authors introduce a measure of implicit evaluation of emotion regulation (ER-IAT). Study 2 examined whether this measure is associated with actual emotional responses to an anger provocation. It was found that greater ER-IAT scores were associated with lesser anger experience, fewer negative thoughts, lessened self-reported effortful emotion regulation, and an adaptive pattern of cardiovascular responding. These findings suggest that implicit positive evaluation of emotion regulation is associated with successful, automatic, and physiologically adaptive down-regulation of anger.

    View details for DOI 10.1177/0146167205083841

    View details for Web of Science ID 000236850100003

    View details for PubMedID 16702153

  • Expressive suppression during an acoustic startle PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY Hagemann, T., Levenson, R. W., Gross, J. J. 2006; 43 (1): 104-112


    Previous studies have shown that inhibiting negative or positive emotion-expressive behavior leads to increased sympathetic activation. Inhibiting facial behavior while in an affectively neutral state has no such physiological consequences. This suggests that there may be something special about inhibiting emotion-expressive behavior. To test the boundary conditions of the suppression effect, acoustic startles were delivered to 252 participants in three experimental groups. Participants in one group received unanticipated startles. Participants in the other two groups were told that after a 20-s countdown a loud noise would occur; participants in one of these groups were further told to inhibit their expressive behavior. Results indicated that startle suppression increased sympathetic activation. These findings extend prior work on emotion suppression, and suggest that inhibiting other biologically based responses also may be physiologically taxing.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1469-8986.2006.00382.x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000236634400011

    View details for PubMedID 16629690

  • Emotion context insensitivity in major depressive disorder JOURNAL OF ABNORMAL PSYCHOLOGY Rottenberg, J., Gross, J. J., Gotlib, I. H. 2005; 114 (4): 627-639


    The present study tested 3 competing views of how depression alters emotional reactivity: positive attenuation (reduced positive), negative potentiation (increased negative), and emotion context insensitivity (ECI; reduced positive and negative). Normative and idiographic stimuli that elicited happy, sad, and neutral states were presented to currently depressed, formerly depressed, and healthy control individuals while experiential, behavioral, and autonomic responses were measured. Currently depressed individuals reported less sadness reactivity and less happiness experience across all conditions than did the other participants, and they exhibited a more dysphoric response to idiographic than to normative stimuli. Overall, data provide partial support for the positive attenuation and ECI views. Depression may produce mood-state-dependent changes in emotional reactivity that are most pronounced in emotion experience reports.

    View details for DOI 10.1037/0021-843X.114.4.627

    View details for Web of Science ID 000233760700014

    View details for PubMedID 16351385

  • Attention and emotion: Does rating emotion alter neural responses to amusing and sad films? NEUROIMAGE Hutcherson, C. A., Goldin, P. R., Ochsner, K. N., Gabrieli, J. D., Barrett, L. F., Gross, J. J. 2005; 27 (3): 656-668


    Functional neuroimaging of affective systems often includes subjective self-report of the affective response. Although self-report provides valuable information regarding participants' affective responses, prior studies have raised the concern that the attentional demands of reporting on affective experience may obscure neural activations reflecting more natural affective responses. In the present study, we used potent emotion-eliciting amusing and sad films, employed a novel method of continuous self-reported rating of emotion experience, and compared the impact of rating with passive viewing of amusing and sad films. Subjective rating of ongoing emotional responses did not decrease either self-reported experience of emotion or neural activations relative to passive viewing in any brain regions. Rating, relative to passive viewing, produced increased activity in anterior cingulate, insula, and several other areas associated with introspection of emotion. These results support the use of continuous emotion measures and emotionally engaging films to study the dynamics of emotional responding and suggest that there may be some contexts in which the attention to emotion induced by reporting emotion experience does not disrupt emotional responding either behaviorally or neurally.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2005.04.028

    View details for Web of Science ID 000231543600017

    View details for PubMedID 15946863

  • Mechanisms of virtual reality exposure therapy: The role of the behavioral activation and behavioral inhibition systems APPLIED PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY AND BIOFEEDBACK Wilhelm, F. H., Pfaltz, M. C., Gross, J. J., Mauss, I. B., Kim, S. I., Wiederhold, B. K. 2005; 30 (3): 271-284


    J. A. Gray's (1975) theory distinguishes between two motivational systems, which he refers to as the behavioral activation system (BAS) and the behavioral inhibition system (BIS). D. C. Fowles (1980) has shown that heart rate responses reflect activity of the BAS, and electrodermal responses reflect activity of the BIS. Both BAS and BIS are reliably activated during in-vivo exposure to fearful situations (F. H. Wilhelm & W. T. Roth, 1998). However, due to the constraints imposed by virtual reality (VR), we hypothesized that VR exposure to fearful situations would activate the BIS alone. To test this hypothesis, a VR free-standing elevator simulation was presented to participants selected for high and low fear of heights. As predicted, the high-anxious group strongly responded electrodermally (effect size d = 1.53), but showed only minimal HR elevations during exposure (d = 0.12), and little other cardiovascular or respiratory changes. The low-anxious control group showed little electrodermal and HR reactivity (d = 0.28 and 0.12). A comparison with data from a previous study demonstrated that this pattern was in stark contrast to the large electrodermal and cardiovascular response observed during situational in-vivo exposure outside the laboratory. We conclude that the BIS, but not BAS, is selectively activated during VR exposure, causing discordance between self-report and commonly used physiological measures of anxiety. Results are discussed within the framework of E. B. Foa & M. J. Kozak's (1986) emotional processing theory of fear modification, suggesting different mechanisms underlying VR and in-vivo exposure treatments.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s10484-005-6383-1

    View details for Web of Science ID 000231937900009

    View details for PubMedID 16167191

  • The neural bases of amusement and sadness: A comparison of block contrast and subject-specific emotion intensity regression approaches NEUROIMAGE Goldin, P. R., Hutcherson, C. A., Ochsner, K. N., Glover, G. H., Gabrieli, J. D., Gross, J. J. 2005; 27 (1): 26-36


    Neuroimaging studies have made substantial progress in elucidating the neural bases of emotion. However, few studies to date have directly addressed the subject-specific, time-varying nature of emotional responding. In the present study, we employed functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine the neural bases of two common emotions--amusement and sadness--using both (a) a stimulus-based block contrast approach and (b) a subject-specific regression analysis using continuous ratings of emotional intensity. Thirteen women viewed a set of nine 2-min amusing, sad, or neutral film clips two times. During the first viewing, participants watched the film stimuli. During the second viewing, they made continuous ratings of the intensity of their own amusement and sadness during the first film viewing. For sad films, both block contrast and subject-specific regression approaches resulted in activations in medial prefrontal cortex, inferior frontal gyrus, superior temporal gyrus, precuneus, lingual gyrus, amygdala, and thalamus. For amusing films, the subject-specific regression analysis demonstrated significant activations not detected by the block contrast in medial, inferior frontal gyrus, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, posterior cingulate, temporal lobes, hippocampus, thalamus, and caudate. These results suggest a relationship between emotion-specific temporal dynamics and the sensitivity of different data analytic methods for identifying emotion-related neural responses. These findings shed light on the neural bases of amusement and sadness, and highlight the value of using emotional film stimuli and subject-specific continuous emotion ratings to characterize the dynamic, time-varying components of emotional responses.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2005.03.018

    View details for Web of Science ID 000230701200003

    View details for PubMedID 15890534

  • Individual differences in trait rumination and the neural systems supporting cognitive reappraisal COGNITIVE AFFECTIVE & BEHAVIORAL NEUROSCIENCE Ray, R. D., Ochsner, K. N., Cooper, J. C., Robertson, E. R., Gabrieli, J. D., Gross, J. J. 2005; 5 (2): 156-168


    Cognitive reappraisal can alter emotional responses by changing one's interpretation of a situation's meaning. Functional neuroimaging has revealed that using cognitive reappraisal to increase or decrease affective responses involves left prefrontal activation and goal-appropriate increases or decreases in amygdala activation (Ochsner, Bunge, Gross, & Gabrieli, 2002; Ochsner, Ray, et al., 2004). The present study was designed to examine whether patterns of brain activation during reappraisal vary in relation to individual differences in trait rumination, which is the tendency to focus on negative aspects of one's self or negative interpretations of one's life. Individual differences in rumination correlated with increases in amygdala response when participants were increasing negative affect and with greater decreases in prefrontal regions implicated in self-focused thought when participants were decreasing negative affect. Thus, the propensity to ruminate may reflect altered recruitment of mechanisms that potentiate negative affect. These findings clarify relations between rumination and emotion regulation processes and may have important implications for mood and anxiety disorders.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000232717900005

    View details for PubMedID 16180622

  • The tie that binds? Coherence among emotion experience, behavior, and physiology EMOTION Mauss, I. B., Levenson, R. W., McCarter, L., Wilhelm, F. H., Gross, J. J. 2005; 5 (2): 175-190


    Emotion theories commonly postulate that emotions impose coherence across multiple response systems. However, empirical support for this coherence postulate is surprisingly limited. In the present study, the authors (a) examined the within-individual associations among experiential, facial behavioral, and peripheral physiological responses during emotional responding and (b) assessed whether emotion intensity moderates these associations. Experiential, behavioral, and physiological responses were measured second-by-second during a film that induced amusement and sadness. Results indicate that experience and behavior were highly associated but that physiological responses were only modestly associated with experience and behavior. Intensity of amusement experience was associated with greater coherence between behavior and physiological responding; intensity of sadness experience was not. These findings provide new evidence about response system coherence in emotions.

    View details for DOI 10.1037/1528-3542.5.2.175

    View details for Web of Science ID 000230443800005

    View details for PubMedID 15982083

  • Vagal withdrawal to a sad film predicts subsequent recovery from depression PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY Rottenberg, J., Salomon, K., Gross, J. J., Gotlib, I. H. 2005; 42 (3): 277-281


    Cardiac vagal tone, as indexed by abnormalities in the level and/or reactivity of respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA), has been related to psychiatric impairment, including risk for depression. Longitudinal studies of depression have focused on RSA levels and have found mixed support for the hypothesis that low RSA levels predict a more pernicious course of depression. The current investigation focuses on the relation between RSA reactivity and the course of depression. We measured depressed persons' RSA reactivity to sadness-, fear-, and amusement-inducing emotion films and reassessed participants' diagnostic status 6 months later. Depressed persons who exhibited a higher degree of vagal withdrawal to the sad film were more likely to recover from depression. Implications for the study of RSA in depression are discussed.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1469-8986.2005.00289.x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000229666500004

    View details for PubMedID 15943681

  • The cognitive control of emotion TRENDS IN COGNITIVE SCIENCES Ochsner, K. N., Gross, J. J. 2005; 9 (5): 242-249


    The capacity to control emotion is important for human adaptation. Questions about the neural bases of emotion regulation have recently taken on new importance, as functional imaging studies in humans have permitted direct investigation of control strategies that draw upon higher cognitive processes difficult to study in nonhumans. Such studies have examined (1) controlling attention to, and (2) cognitively changing the meaning of, emotionally evocative stimuli. These two forms of emotion regulation depend upon interactions between prefrontal and cingulate control systems and cortical and subcortical emotion-generative systems. Taken together, the results suggest a functional architecture for the cognitive control of emotion that dovetails with findings from other human and nonhuman research on emotion.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.tics.2005.03.010

    View details for Web of Science ID 000229466500010

    View details for PubMedID 15866151

  • Healthy and unhealthy emotion regulation: Personality processes, individual differences, and life span development JOURNAL OF PERSONALITY John, O. P., Gross, J. J. 2004; 72 (6): 1301-1333


    Individuals regulate their emotions in a wide variety of ways. Are some forms of emotion regulation healthier than others? We focus on two commonly used emotion regulation strategies: reappraisal (changing the way one thinks about a potentially emotion-eliciting event) and suppression (changing the way one responds behaviorally to an emotion-eliciting event). In the first section, we review experimental findings showing that reappraisal has a healthier profile of short-term affective, cognitive, and social consequences than suppression. In the second section, we review individual-difference findings, which show that using reappraisal to regulate emotions is associated with healthier patterns of affect, social functioning, and well-being than is using suppression. In the third section, we consider issues in the development of reappraisal and suppression and provide new evidence for a normative shift toward an increasingly healthy emotion regulation profile during adulthood (i.e., increases in the use of reappraisal and decreases in the use of suppression).

    View details for Web of Science ID 000224756300008

    View details for PubMedID 15509284

  • For better or for worse: neural systems supporting the cognitive down- and up-regulation of negative emotion NEUROIMAGE Ochsner, K. N., Ray, R. D., Cooper, J. C., Robertson, E. R., Chopra, S., Gabrieli, J. D., Gross, J. J. 2004; 23 (2): 483-499


    Functional neuroimaging studies examining the neural bases of the cognitive control of emotion have found increased prefrontal and decreased amygdala activation for the reduction or down-regulation of negative emotion. It is unknown, however, (1) whether the same neural systems underlie the enhancement or up-regulation of emotion, and (2) whether altering the nature of the regulatory strategy alters the neural systems mediating the regulation. To address these questions using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), participants up- and down-regulated negative emotion either by focusing internally on the self-relevance of aversive scenes or by focusing externally on alternative meanings for pictured actions and their situational contexts. Results indicated (1a) that both up- and down-regulating negative emotion recruited prefrontal and anterior cingulate regions implicated in cognitive control, (1b) that amygdala activation was modulated up or down in accord with the regulatory goal, and (1c) that up-regulation uniquely recruited regions of left rostromedial PFC implicated in the retrieval of emotion knowledge, whereas down-regulation uniquely recruited regions of right lateral and orbital PFC implicated in behavioral inhibition. Results also indicated that (2) self-focused regulation recruited medial prefrontal regions implicated in internally focused processing, whereas situation-focused regulation recruited lateral prefrontal regions implicated in externally focused processing. These data suggest that both common and distinct neural systems support various forms of reappraisal and that which particular prefrontal systems modulate the amygdala in different ways depends on the regulatory goal and strategy employed.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2004.06.030

    View details for Web of Science ID 000224817100005

    View details for PubMedID 15488398

  • Is there less to social anxiety than meets the eye? Emotion experience, expression, and bodily responding COGNITION & EMOTION Mauss, I. B., Wilhelm, F. H., Gross, J. J. 2004; 18 (5): 631-662
  • Emotion regulation in romantic relationships: The cognitive consequences of concealing feelings JOURNAL OF SOCIAL AND PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS RICHARDS, J. M., Butler, E. A., Gross, J. J. 2003; 20 (5): 599-620
  • Individual differences in two emotion regulation processes: Implications for affect, relationships, and well-being JOURNAL OF PERSONALITY AND SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY Gross, J. J., John, O. P. 2003; 85 (2): 348-362


    Five studies tested two general hypotheses: Individuals differ in their use of emotion regulation strategies such as reappraisal and suppression, and these individual differences have implications for affect, well-being, and social relationships. Study 1 presents new measures of the habitual use of reappraisal and suppression. Study 2 examines convergent and discriminant validity. Study 3 shows that reappraisers experience and express greater positive emotion and lesser negative emotion, whereas suppressors experience and express lesser positive emotion, yet experience greater negative emotion. Study 4 indicates that using reappraisal is associated with better interpersonal functioning, whereas using suppression is associated with worse interpersonal functioning. Study 5 shows that using reappraisal is related positively to well-being, whereas using suppression is related negatively.

    View details for DOI 10.1037/0022-3514.85.2.348

    View details for Web of Science ID 000184523900012

    View details for PubMedID 12916575

  • Autonomic recovery and habituation in social anxiety PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY Mauss, I. B., Wilhelm, F. H., Gross, J. J. 2003; 40 (4): 648-653


    Growing evidence suggests that, contrary to expectation, high trait socially anxious (HTSA) and low trait socially anxious (LTSA) individuals show comparable autonomic reactivity during stressful speech tasks. To test the hypothesis that autonomic differences between groups might emerge during recovery or habituation, 35 HTSA and LTSA participants gave two impromptu speeches. Measures of anxiety experience as well as cardiovascular, electrodermal, respiratory, and vagal activation were obtained. Despite greater reports of anxiety experience in the HTSA versus the LTSA participants, autonomic measures showed comparable reactivity, habituation, and recovery in the two anxiety groups. These results suggest minimal autonomic differences between HTSA and LTSA individuals, thus supporting theories of social anxiety that emphasize cognitive factors.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000183733200017

    View details for PubMedID 14570172

  • When emotion goes wrong: Realizing the promise of affective science CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY-SCIENCE AND PRACTICE Rottenberg, J., Gross, J. J. 2003; 10 (2): 227-232
  • The Social Consequences of Expressive Suppression EMOTION Butler, E. A., Egloff, B., Wilhelm, F. H., Smith, N. C., Erickson, E. A., Gross, J. J. 2003; 3 (1): 48-67


    At times, people keep their emotions from showing during social interactions. The authors' analysis suggests that such expressive suppression should disrupt communication and increase stress levels. To test this hypothesis, the authors conducted 2 studies in which unacquainted pairs of women discussed an upsetting topic. In Study 1, one member of each pair was randomly assigned to (a) suppress her emotional behavior, (b) respond naturally, or (c) cognitively reappraise in a way that reduced emotional responding. Suppression alone disrupted communication and magnified blood pressure responses in the suppressors' partners. In Study 2, suppression had a negative impact on the regulators' emotional experience and increased blood pressure in both regulators and their partners. Suppression also reduced rapport and inhibited relationship formation.

    View details for DOI 10.1037/1528-3542.3.1.48

    View details for Web of Science ID 000208224900004

    View details for PubMedID 12899316

  • Correlates of gay and lesbian couples' relationship satisfaction and relationship dissolution JOURNAL OF HOMOSEXUALITY Gottman, J. M., Levenson, R. W., GROSS, J., Frederickson, B. L., McCoy, K., Rosenthal, L., Ruef, A., Yoshimoto, D. 2003; 45 (1): 23-43


    A sample of committed gay and lesbian cohabiting couples engaged in two conversations after being apart for at least 8 hours: (a) an events of the day conversation and (b) a conflict resolution conversation. Physiological data were collected during the conversations and a videotape record was made. Couples viewed the videotapes and rated their affect during the interaction. The video records were coded with a system that categorized specific affects displayed. Models derived from physiology, from the perception of interaction, and from specific affective behavior were related to relationship satisfaction, and to the prediction of relationship dissolution over a 12-year period. Results supported previous findings that satisfaction and stability in gay and lesbian relationships are related to similar emotional qualities as in heterosexual relationships.

    View details for DOI 10.1300/J082v45n01_02

    View details for Web of Science ID 000185757500002

    View details for PubMedID 14567652

  • Vagal rebound during resolution of tearful crying among depressed and nondepressed individuals PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY Rottenberg, J., Wilhelm, F. H., Gross, J. J., Gotlib, I. H. 2003; 40 (1): 1-6


    Respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) is an index of the vagal control of heart rate that is associated with emotion regulatory capacity. To examine RSA in depressed and nondepressed participants in the context of an emotion-regulatory challenge, we presented a sad film to induce crying, a behavior associated with heightened parasympathetic activation. We predicted that nondepressed persons who cried would show elevations in RSA during the onset and the resolution of crying. By contrast, we predicted that depressed individuals who cried would fail to exhibit increased RSA over the course of their crying episodes. As hypothesized, nondepressed participants exhibited RSA increases that accompanied the resolution of tearful crying, consistent with a homeostatic function for crying, whereas depressed subjects who cried did not exhibit increased RSA. Results suggest that the physiological self-regulatory mechanisms invoked by crying are compromised in depression.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000180455300001

    View details for PubMedID 12751799

  • Rethinking feelings: An fMRI study of the cognitive regulation of emotion JOURNAL OF COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE Ochsner, K. N., Bunge, S. A., Gross, J. J., Gabrieli, J. D. 2002; 14 (8): 1215-1229


    The ability to cognitively regulate emotional responses to aversive events is important for mental and physical health. Little is known, however, about neural bases of the cognitive control of emotion. The present study employed functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine the neural systems used to reappraise highly negative scenes in unemotional terms. Reappraisal of highly negative scenes reduced subjective experience of negative affect. Neural correlates of reappraisal were increased activation of the lateral and medial prefrontal regions and decreased activation of the amygdala and medial orbito-frontal cortex. These findings support the hypothesis that prefrontal cortex is involved in constructing reappraisal strategies that can modulate activity in multiple emotion-processing systems.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000179163500008

    View details for PubMedID 12495527

  • Respiratory sinus arrhythmia as a predictor of outcome in major depressive disorder JOURNAL OF AFFECTIVE DISORDERS Rottenberg, J., Wilhelm, F. H., Gross, J. J., Gotlib, I. H. 2002; 71 (1-3): 265-272


    Respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) is a noninvasive measure of parasympathetic tone that has been related to emotion regulatory capacity. While some previous work indicates that clinically depressed persons exhibit lower levels of RSA than do normal controls, there is nevertheless considerable between-subject variation in RSA among depressed persons. The current study evaluated the significance of variation in RSA among depressed persons by examining whether levels of RSA predicted concurrent symptomatology and the course of depressive illness.The RSA levels of 55 diagnosed depressed individuals were assessed during a paced breathing procedure at Time 1. Six months later (Time 2), participants were interviewed again to determine whether or not each had fully recovered from depression. Multinomial regression analyses were conducted to examine whether RSA predicted Time 2 clinical status.Although RSA levels were not related to overall depression severity, they were associated with specific symptoms of depression: RSA was positively associated with the report of sadness and negatively associated with the report of suicidality. More strikingly, however, higher levels of RSA at Time 1 predicted non-recovery from depression at Time 2, even when statistically controlling for initial depression severity, age and medication use.Treatment and medication use were not controlled during the follow-up period and a group of nonpsychiatric controls was not included in this study.A relatively high level of RSA among depressed individuals predicts a more pernicious course of illness than do lower RSA levels.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000177824700033

    View details for PubMedID 12167527

  • Sadness and Amusement Reactivity Differentially Predict Concurrent and Prospective Functioning in Major Depressive Disorder EMOTION Rottenberg, J., Kasch, K. L., Gross, J. J., Gotlib, I. H. 2002; 2 (2): 135-146


    Depressed individuals often fail to react to emotionally significant stimuli. The significance of this pattern of emotional dysregulation in depression is poorly understood. In the present study, depressed and nondepressed participants viewed standardized neutral, sad, fear, and amusing films; and experiential, behavioral, and physiological responses to each film were assessed. Compared with nondepressed controls, depressed participants reported sadness and amusement in a flattened, context-insensitive manner. Those depressed participants who reported the least reactivity to the sad film exhibited the greatest concurrent impairment. Prospectively, the depressed participant who exhibited the least behavioral and heart rate reactivity to the amusing film were the least likely to recover from depression. Loss of the context-appropriate modulation of emotion in depression may reflect a core feature of emotion dysregulation in this disorder.

    View details for DOI 10.1037//1528-3542.2.2.135

    View details for Web of Science ID 000208224500004

    View details for PubMedID 12899187

  • Crying threshold and intensity in major depressive disorder JOURNAL OF ABNORMAL PSYCHOLOGY Rottenberg, J., Gross, J. J., Wilhelm, F. H., Gotlib, I. H. 2002; 111 (2): 302-312


    Clinical lore suggests that depression is associated with frequent and intense crying. To test these postulations empirically, a standardized cry-evoking stimulus was presented to depressed and nondepressed participants, and their likelihood of crying and the magnitude of crying-related changes in their emotion experience, behavior, and autonomic physiology were compared. Unexpectedly, crying was no more likely in depressed than in nondepressed participants. Within the nondepressed group, participants who cried exhibited increases in the report and display of sadness and had greater cardiac and electrodermal activation than did participants who did not cry. There was less evidence of this crying-related emotional activation within the depressed group. The lack of emotional activation among clinically depressed participants who cried provides a tantalizing clue concerning how emotions are dysregulated in this disorder.

    View details for DOI 10.1037//0021-843X.111.2.302

    View details for Web of Science ID 000175078600009

    View details for PubMedID 12003451

  • Emotion regulation: Affective, cognitive, and social consequences PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY Gross, J. J. 2002; 39 (3): 281-291


    One of life's great challenges is successfully regulating emotions. Do some emotion regulation strategies have more to recommend them than others? According to Gross's (1998, Review of General Psychology, 2, 271-299) process model of emotion regulation, strategies that act early in the emotion-generative process should have a different profile of consequences than strategies that act later on. This review focuses on two commonly used strategies for down-regulating emotion. The first, reappraisal, comes early in the emotion-generative process. It consists of changing the way a situation is construed so as to decrease its emotional impact. The second, suppression, comes later in the emotion-generative process. It consists of inhibiting the outward signs of inner feelings. Experimental and individual-difference studies find reappraisal is often more effective than suppression. Reappraisal decreases emotion experience and behavioral expression, and has no impact on memory. By contrast, suppression decreases behavioral expression, but fails to decrease emotion experience, and actually impairs memory. Suppression also increases physiological responding for suppressors and their social partners. This review concludes with a consideration of five important directions for future research on emotion regulation processes.

    View details for DOI 10.1017/S0048577201393198

    View details for Web of Science ID 000175419200002

    View details for PubMedID 12212647

  • Implicit Anxiety Measure Predicts Cardiovascular Reactivity to an Evaluated Speaking Task EMOTION Egloff, B., Wilhelm, F. H., Neubauer, D. H., Mauss, I. B., Gross, J. J. 2002; 2 (1): 3-11


    Explicit personality tests assess introspectively accessible self-descriptions. By contrast, implicit personality tests assess introspectively inaccessible processes that operate outside of awareness. Despite their inaccessibility, implicit processes are presumed to influence a variety of current responses. This study tested the hypothesis that an implicit anxiety test should predict cardiovascular reactivity during a speech stressor task. In all, 97 participants completed a measure of attention allocation toward threat (implicit test) and an anxiety questionnaire (explicit test) 1 week before giving an evaluated speech. Whereas the explicit test showed modest relations within only 1 measure of cardiovascular reactivity, the implicit test predicted heart rate and blood pressure reactivity during preparation and delivery of the speech. These findings encourage the broader use of implicit measures to assess cardiovascular responses to threat.

    View details for DOI 10.1037/1528-3542.2.1.3

    View details for Web of Science ID 000208224400001

    View details for PubMedID 12899363

  • An fMRI study of personality influences on brain reactivity to emotional stimuli BEHAVIORAL NEUROSCIENCE Canli, T., Zhao, Z., Desmond, J. E., Kang, E. J., GROSS, J., Gabrieli, J. D. 2001; 115 (1): 33-42


    Functional imaging studies have examined which brain regions respond to emotional stimuli, but they have not determined how stable personality traits moderate such brain activation. Two personality traits, extraversion and neuroticism, are strongly associated with emotional experience and may thus moderate brain reactivity to emotional stimuli. The present study used functional magnetic resonance imaging to directly test whether individual differences in brain reactivity to emotional stimuli are correlated with extraversion and neuroticism in healthy women. Extraversion was correlated with brain reactivity to positive stimuli in localized brain regions, and neuroticism was correlated with brain reactivity to negative stimuli in localized brain regions. This study provides direct evidence that personality is associated with brain reactivity to emotional stimuli and identifies both common and distinct brain regions where such modulation takes place.

    View details for DOI 10.1037//0735-7044.115.1.33

    View details for Web of Science ID 000170911300003

    View details for PubMedID 11256451

  • Emotion regulation and memory: The cognitive costs of keeping one's cool JOURNAL OF PERSONALITY AND SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY RICHARDS, J. M., Gross, J. J. 2000; 79 (3): 410-424


    An emerging literature has begun to document the affective consequences of emotion regulation. Little is known, however, about whether emotion regulation also has cognitive consequences. A process model of emotion suggests that expressive suppression should reduce memory for emotional events but that reappraisal should not. Three studies tested this hypothesis. Study 1 experimentally manipulated expressive suppression during film viewing, showing that suppression led to poorer memory for the details of the film. Study 2 manipulated expressive suppression and reappraisal during slide viewing. Only suppression led to poorer slide memory. Study 3 examined individual differences in typical expressive suppression and reappraisal and found that suppression was associated with poorer self-reported and objective memory but that reappraisal was not. Together, these studies suggest that the cognitive costs of keeping one's cool may vary according to how this is done.

    View details for DOI 10.1037//0022-3514.79.3.410

    View details for Web of Science ID 000089022300008

    View details for PubMedID 10981843

  • The dissociation of emotion expression from emotion experience: A personality perspective PERSONALITY AND SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY BULLETIN Gross, J. J., John, O. P., RICHARDS, J. M. 2000; 26 (6): 712-726
  • Composure at any cost? The cognitive consequences of emotion suppression PERSONALITY AND SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY BULLETIN RICHARDS, J. M., Gross, J. J. 1999; 25 (8): 1033-1044
  • Mapping the domain of expressivity: Multimethod evidence for a hierarchical model JOURNAL OF PERSONALITY AND SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY Gross, J. J., John, O. P. 1998; 74 (1): 170-191


    Increased interest in emotional expressivity has led to a proliferation of conceptions and measures. It is unclear, however, whether they all refer to the same construct and whether the domain of emotional expressivity is best conceptualized as unidimensional or multifaceted. Study 1 examined 6 common expressivity questionnaires, yielding 5 factors: Expressive Confidence, Positive Expressivity, Negative Expressivity, Impulse Intensity, and Masking. To develop a nomological network for these factors, the factors were related to broader personality taxonomies and their differential relations to sex and ethnicity were tested. Study 2 provided further evidence of discriminant validity in relation to (a) typical emotion expression in peer relationships, (b) ability to pose emotions in the laboratory, (c) likability, and (d) regulation of emotion and mood. These findings support a hierarchical model of individual differences in emotional expressivity.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000071543400014

    View details for PubMedID 9457781

  • Antecedent- and response-focused emotion regulation: Divergent consequences for experience, expression, and physiology JOURNAL OF PERSONALITY AND SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY Gross, J. J. 1998; 74 (1): 224-237


    Using a process model of emotion, a distinction between antecedent-focused and response-focused emotion regulation is proposed. To test this distinction, 120 participants were shown a disgusting film while their experiential, behavioral, and physiological responses were recorded. Participants were told to either (a) think about the film in such a way that they would feel nothing (reappraisal, a form of antecedent-focused emotion regulation), (b) behave in such a way that someone watching them would not know they were feeling anything (suppression, a form of response-focused emotion regulation), or (c) watch the film (a control condition). Compared with the control condition, both reappraisal and suppression were effective in reducing emotion-expressive behavior. However, reappraisal decreased disgust experience, whereas suppression increased sympathetic activation. These results suggest that these 2 emotion regulatory processes may have different adaptive consequences.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000071543400017

    View details for PubMedID 9457784

  • Emotion and aging: Experience, expression, and control PSYCHOLOGY AND AGING Gross, J. J., Carstensen, L. L., Pasupathi, M., Tsai, J., Skorpen, C. G., Hsu, A. Y. 1997; 12 (4): 590-599


    Age differences in emotional experience, expression, and control were investigated in 4 studies. A community sample of 127 African Americans and European Americans (ages 19-96 years) was used in Study 1; a community sample of 82 Chinese Americans and European Americans (ages 20-85 years) was used in Study 2; a community sample of 49 Norwegians drawn from 2 age groups (ages 20-35 years and 70+ years) was used in Study 3; and a sample of 1,080 American nuns (ages 24-101 years) was used in Study 4. Across studies, a consistent pattern of age differences emerged. Compared with younger participants, older participants reported fewer negative emotional experiences and greater emotional control. Findings regarding emotional expressivity were less consistent, but when there were age differences, older participants reported lesser expressivity. Results are interpreted in terms of increasingly competent emotion regulation across the life span.

    View details for Web of Science ID A1997YK91800005

    View details for PubMedID 9416628

  • Hiding feelings: The acute effects of inhibiting negative and positive emotion JOURNAL OF ABNORMAL PSYCHOLOGY Gross, J. J., Levenson, R. W. 1997; 106 (1): 95-103


    Emotion regulation plays a central role in mental health and illness, but little is known about even the most basic forms of emotion regulation. To examine the acute effects of inhibiting negative and positive emotion, we asked 180 female participants to watch sad, neutral, and amusing films under 1 of 2 conditions. Suppression participants (N = 90) inhibited their expressive behavior while watching the films; no suppression participants (N = 90) simply watched the films. Suppression diminished expressive behavior in all 3 films and decreased amusement self-reports in sad and amusing films. Physiologically, suppression had no effect in the neutral film, but clear effects in both negative and positive emotional films, including increased sympathetic activation of the cardiovascular system. On the basis of these findings, we suggest several ways emotional inhibition may influence psychological functioning.

    View details for Web of Science ID A1997WF06400009

    View details for PubMedID 9103721

  • Revealing feelings: Facets of emotional expressivity in self-reports, peer ratings, and behavior JOURNAL OF PERSONALITY AND SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY Gross, J. J., John, O. P. 1997; 72 (2): 435-448


    Drawing on an explicit model of emotion, we propose a multifaceted approach to emotional expressivity, defined as the behavioral (e.g., facial, postural) changes associated with emotion. Study 1 shows that self-reported expressivity has 3 facets (Impulse Strength, Negative Expressivity, Positive Expressivity). Study 2 shows that the same 3 facets emerge in peer ratings and that there are robust relations between self- and peer-rated expressivity. In Study 3, emotion-expressive behavior was videotaped and related to expressivity self-reports obtained several months earlier. As expected, Negative Expressivity predicted behavioral expressions of sadness (but not amusement), whereas Positive Expressivity predicted amusement (but not sadness). These relations remained even when subjective emotional experience and physiological response were controlled. These studies demonstrate the importance of a multifaceted approach to emotional expressivity and have implications for the understanding of personality and emotion.

    View details for Web of Science ID A1997WH68100015

    View details for PubMedID 9107009

  • EMOTION ELICITATION USING FILMS COGNITION & EMOTION Gross, J. J., Levenson, R. W. 1995; 9 (1): 87-108
  • THE PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY OF CRYING PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY Gross, J. J., Fredrickson, B. L., Levenson, R. W. 1994; 31 (5): 460-468


    Two conflicting views have emerged as to why people cry when they are sad. One suggests that crying serves homeostasis by facilitating recovery; the other suggests that crying produces an aversive high-arousal state that motivates behavior aimed at ending the tears. To test hypotheses drawn from these views, we showed a short film known to elicit sadness to 150 women. During this film, 33 subjects spontaneously cried and 117 did not. Subjects who cried exhibited more expressive behavior and reported feeling more sadness and pain than did subjects who did not cry. Crying also was associated with increases in somatic and autonomic nervous system activity. The increases in autonomic activity could not be accounted for solely by the increases in somatic activity. Crying is thus associated with an aversive state, including negative emotion and a complex mixture of sympathetic, parasympathetic, and somatic activation, and we speculate about the functional implications of these findings.

    View details for Web of Science ID A1994PD74700005

    View details for PubMedID 7972600



    This study examined the effects of emotional suppression, a form of emotion regulation defined as the conscious inhibition of emotional expressive behavior while emotionally aroused. Ss (43 men and 42 women) watched a short disgust-eliciting film while their behavioral, physiological, and subjective responses were recorded. Ss were told to watch the film (no suppression condition) or to watch the film while behaving "in such a way that a person watching you would not know you were feeling anything" (suppression condition). Suppression reduced expressive behavior and produced a mixed physiological state characterized by decreased somatic activity and decreased heart rate, along with increased blinking and indications of increased sympathetic nervous system activity (in other cardiovascular measures and in electrodermal responding). Suppression had no impact on the subjective experience of emotion. There were no sex differences in the effects of suppression.

    View details for Web of Science ID A1993LE94100008

    View details for PubMedID 8326473

  • PROFOUND PACEMAKER SYNDROME IN HYPERTROPHIC CARDIOMYOPATHY AMERICAN JOURNAL OF CARDIOLOGY Gross, J. N., Keltz, T. N., Cooper, J. A., Breitbart, S., Furman, S. 1992; 70 (18): 1507-1511

    View details for Web of Science ID A1992KA27200030

    View details for PubMedID 1442632

Conference Proceedings

  • Social anxiety and response to touch: incongruence between self-evaluative and physiological reactions Wilhelm, F. H., Kochar, A. S., Roth, W. T., Gross, J. J. ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV. 2001: 181-202


    Touch is an important form of social interaction, and one that can have powerful emotional consequences. Appropriate touch can be calming, while inappropriate touch can be anxiety provoking. To examine the impact of social touching, this study compared socially high-anxious (N=48) and low-anxious (N=47) women's attitudes concerning social touch, as well as their affective and physiological responses to a wrist touch by a male experimenter. Compared to low-anxious participants, high-anxious participants reported greater anxiety to a variety of social situations involving touch. Consistent with these reports, socially anxious participants reacted to the experimenter's touch with markedly greater increases in self-reported anxiety, self-consciousness, and embarrassment. Physiologically, low-anxious and high-anxious participants showed a distinct pattern of sympathetic-parasympathetic coactivation, as reflected by decreased heart rate and tidal volume, and increased respiratory sinus arrhythmia, skin conductance, systolic/diastolic blood pressure, stroke volume, and respiratory rate. Interestingly, physiological responses were comparable in low and high-anxious groups. These findings indicate that social anxiety is accompanied by heightened aversion towards social situations that involve touch, but this enhanced aversion and negative-emotion report is not reflected in differential physiological responding.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000172496600001

    View details for PubMedID 11698114

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