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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2008 Dec;95(6):1526-40. doi: 10.1037/a0013345.

Working memory capacity and the self-regulation of emotional expression and experience.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-4235, USA. schmeichel@tamu.edu


This research examined the relationship between individual differences in working memory capacity and the self-regulation of emotional expression and emotional experience. Four studies revealed that people higher in working memory capacity suppressed expressions of negative emotion (Study 1) and positive emotion (Study 2) better than did people lower in working memory capacity. Furthermore, compared to people lower in working memory capacity, people higher in capacity more capably appraised emotional stimuli in an unemotional manner and thereby experienced (Studies 3 and 4) and expressed (Study 4) less emotion in response to those stimuli. These findings indicate that cognitive ability contributes to the control of emotional responding.

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