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Fundamental Beliefs about emotion influence the process of emotion regulation: An ERP study
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  • Yajie Huang,
  • Qin Zhang,
  • Chenyang Shang,
  • Lixia Cui,
  • Ping Wei
Yajie Huang
Capital Normal University
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Qin Zhang
Capital Normal University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Chenyang Shang
Capital Normal University
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Lixia Cui
Capital Normal University
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Ping Wei
Capital Normal University
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Abstract

Objective: This study focused on the influences of individual beliefs about emotion controllability (ECB) and goodness (EGB) on the process of reappraisal and suppression using event­related potential (ERP) approach. Method: Ninety­two participants were divided into four groups (n = 23 for each group) according to their scores of ECB and EGB, and then were asked to engage in a picture­based emotion regulation task while EEG signals were recorded. Results: The results showed an interaction among EGB, ECB and emotion regulation strategy in early posterior negativity (EPN): Participants believing that emotions were good and controllable displayed enhanced EPN under reappraisal compared to suppression, implying that reappraisal instruction can potentiate early processing of negative stimuli in these people. Furthermore, an interaction between ECB (but not EGB) and emotion regulation was observed in the late positive potential (LPP). The parietal LPP (400­1000 ms) was significantly higher in negative­viewing vs. reappraisal and suppression conditions among participants believing that emotions were controllable, suggesting that the belief that emotions were controllable can help individuals effectively use reappraisal and suppression to reduce the level of unpleasant feelings. Differently, among participants holding that emotions were uncontrollable, the frontal (650­1700 ms) and parietal (400­1000 ms) LPPs were lower under reappraisal vs. suppression condition, indicating that they could benefit from the instruction of reappraisal, although they put in more effort for suppressing facial expression. Conclusion: These results highlight the role of emotion beliefs in emotion regulation.