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J Pers Soc Psychol. 1993 Jun;64(6):970-86.

Emotional suppression: physiology, self-report, and expressive behavior.

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Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley 94720.


This study examined the effects of emotional suppression, a form of emotion regulation defined as the conscious inhibition of emotional expressive behavior while emotionally aroused. Ss (43 men and 42 women) watched a short disgust-eliciting film while their behavioral, physiological, and subjective responses were recorded. Ss were told to watch the film (no suppression condition) or to watch the film while behaving "in such a way that a person watching you would not know you were feeling anything" (suppression condition). Suppression reduced expressive behavior and produced a mixed physiological state characterized by decreased somatic activity and decreased heart rate, along with increased blinking and indications of increased sympathetic nervous system activity (in other cardiovascular measures and in electrodermal responding). Suppression had no impact on the subjective experience of emotion. There were no sex differences in the effects of suppression.

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