Mnemonic emotion regulation: A three-process model

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Emotion regulation comprises attempts to influence when and how emotions are experienced and expressed. It has mostly been conceived of as proactive (e.g. situation selection) or reactive (e.g. attentional distraction), but it may also be retroactive and involve memory. I term such past-oriented activity mnemonic emotion regulation and propose that it involves increasing or decreasing access to or altering the characteristics of a memory. People may increase access to a memory and make it more likely that it will be retrieved in the future, for example by rehearsing a pleasant memory. They may decrease access to a memory and make it less likely that intrusions will be experienced in the future, for example by repeatedly trying to stop an unpleasant memory from being retrieved. Finally, people may alter the characteristics of a memory and change its content or context, for example by replacing a negative impression with a productive interpretation. I discuss how mnemonic emotion regulation may be instigated (e.g. via elaborate rehearsal) as well as the different motives (e.g. hedonic motives) people may have for engaging in regulation. Also, I discuss possible benefits of, variations in, and improvements of mnemonic emotion regulation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCognition and Emotion
Volume33
Issue5
Pages (from-to)959-975
Number of pages17
ISSN0269-9931
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Research areas

  • Memory, emotion regulation, forgetting, rehearsal, memory distortion, AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL MEMORY, INDIVIDUAL-DIFFERENCES, THOUGHT SUBSTITUTION, DIRECT SUPPRESSION, UNWANTED MEMORIES, FALSE MEMORIES, SELF, RECALL, MOOD, DEPRESSION

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