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Title: Regulation of emotional responses using an Implementation Intention and an Observer Mental Imagery : exploring changes in self-reports and physiological responses
Author: Azbel-Jackson, Lena
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2013
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It has been demonstrated that emotion regulatory goals can be successfully accomplished using implementation intentions (e.g., Schweiger Gallo, McCulloch, Gollwitzer, 2012) or mental imagery (e.g., Davis, Ochsner, Gross, 2011) as emotion regulatory strategies. The effectiveness of these strategies was assessed by examining changes in subjective reports of experienced emotion. In the present thesis these findings are explored and extended in five experiments in which the impact of forming either an implementation intentions or an Observer visual imagery perspective on self-reports and on physiological arousal, measured by changes in Electrodermal and Heart Rate responses. Study 1 was designed to examine whether an implementation intention would be effective in realizing the emotion regulatory outcome specified in the 'then' component of this 'if-then' plan to the picture type specified in the 'if component ("If! see a weapon, then 1 will stay calm and relaxed! "), in the absence of an additional goal intention. To control for an attentional bias towards negative content, in addition to neutral pictures the participants viewed two types of negative pictures: ones depicting a weapon (then component I cue) or non-weapon negative pictures. These were viewed after either an Implementation Intention (IMP), or a Goal Intention (GI, "1 will stay calm and relaxed! "), or no self-regulatory (Control) instructions. The effectiveness of the IMP instructions was determined by comparing participants' arousal ratings to the negative pictures between experimental conditions and to the non-weapon pictures within the experimental conditions. The results showed that only participants in the IMP condition reported feeling calmer after viewing the non-weapon pictures and the weapon pictures (relative to Control and GI conditions). These findings provide a replication of Schweiger Gallo et al.'s (2009) observation that the emotion regulatory goals can be accomplished using an implementation intention, and extend them by demonstrating the effectiveness of an implementation intention in the absence of a prior goal intention. These effects are thought to reflect the benefits of forming an "if-then" plan by increasing cue (weapon picture) accessibility and enhancing the association between this cue and the emotion regulatory outcome (staying calm and relaxed).
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available