In theory, the essence of emotion is coordination across experiential, behavioral, and physiological systems in the service of functional responding to environmental demands. However, people often regulate emotions, which could either reduce or enhance cross-system concordance. The present study tested the effects of two forms of emotion regulation (expressive suppression, positive reappraisal) on concordance of subjective experience (positive-negative valence), expressive behavior (positive and negative), and physiology (inter-beat interval, skin conductance, blood pressure) during conversations between unacquainted young women. As predicted, participants asked to suppress showed reduced concordance for both positive and negative emotions. Reappraisal instructions also reduced concordance for negative emotions, but increased concordance for positive ones. Both regulation strategies had contagious interpersonal effects on average levels of responding. Suppression reduced overall expression for both regulating and uninstructed partners, while reappraisal reduced negative experience. Neither strategy influenced the uninstructed partners' concordance. These results suggest that emotion regulation impacts concordance by altering the temporal coupling of phasic subsystem responses, rather than by having divergent effects on subsystem tonic levels.
- Emotion regulation
- Interpersonal emotion
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology