Habitual suppression relates to difficulty in regulating emotion with cognitive reappraisal

Xianwei Che, Xi Luo, Dandan Tong, Bernadette Fitzgibbon, Juan Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


One common strategy to cope with the difficulties of daily life is suppression. Habitual users of suppression tend to suppress their feelings rather than expressing them. Although this strategy may reduce outward response to emotion, it is not thought to lessen induced negative affect. Moreover, it remains unclear whether people with high suppression scores can reduce negative affect through cognitive reappraisal. In the present study, twenty-nine healthy participants differing in suppression scores were directed to reappraise aversive stimuli during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Results showed that higher suppression scores correlated with decreased response of dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC) during cognitive reappraisal. Further, high suppression scores related to enhanced negative affect to stimuli with greater negative affect correlating with decreased dmPFC response during cognitive reappraisal. This study suggests that people with high suppression scores experience difficulty in reducing negative affect through cognitive reappraisal and implicates neurobiological processes that may underlie this difficulty.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-26
Number of pages7
JournalBiological Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015


  • Affective disorder
  • Cognitive reappraisal
  • Gender difference
  • Habitual suppression

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