Effects of emotion regulation on concurrent attentional performance

Catherine N.M. Ortner, Philip D Zelazo, Adam K. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


We explored the attentional demands of unpleasant picture viewing and emotion regulation strategies. Participants received instructions to view, reappraise, or suppress their emotional experience to unpleasant and neutral pictures, while performing a concurrent auditory discrimination task, both during and after the picture presentation period. Reaction times (RTs) were slower during unpleasant than neutral pictures, which persisted into the post-picture period. RTs were also slower during reappraisal and suppression than viewing and for earlier than later tones following picture onset. An enduring effect of negative emotion was found in the picture and post picture period for suppression but not reappraisal. Findings suggest that both viewing emotional stimuli and regulating one's emotions using either reappraisal or suppression draw upon common attentional resources, but with suppression resulting in the distinct cost of maintaining the effects of negative emotion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)346-354
Number of pages9
JournalMotivation and Emotion
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013


  • Attention
  • Emotion regulation
  • Reappraisal
  • Suppression

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