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Psychophysiology. 2016 Jan;53(1):41-51. doi: 10.1111/psyp.12579.

Convergence in feeling, divergence in physiology: How culture influences the consequences of disgust suppression and amplification among European Americans and Asian Americans.

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Department of Psychology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA.
Office of Organizational Effectiveness, Central Washington University, Ellensburg, Washington, USA.
School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Arizona State University, Phoenix, Arizona, USA.


Much empirical work documents the downsides of suppressing emotions. Emerging research points to the need for a more sophisticated and culturally informed approach to understanding the consequences of emotion regulation. To that end, we employed behavioral, self-report, and psychophysiological measures to examine the consequences of two types of emotion regulation (suppression and amplification) in a sample of 28 Asian Americans and 31 European Americans. Participants were shown a neutral film and then a series of disgust-eliciting films during which they were asked to regulate their response by suppressing or amplifying their emotional behavior (counterbalanced). Despite self-reporting equal levels of disgust, European Americans showed greater skin conductance reactivity than Asian Americans in both regulation conditions, but not in response to a neutral film. These findings extend work on divergence in the consequences of emotion regulation across different cultural groups, which could help identify optimal emotion regulation strategies for health and well-being.


Amplification; Asian Americans; Cultural differences; Emotion regulation; Psychophysiology; Suppression

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