Self-awareness and the regulation of emotional intensity.

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Paul Silvia, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:

Abstract: People often regulate their feelings by striving for particular emotional states. The self-regulation of emotions should be influenced by self-awareness, which is a primary instigator of self-regulation. Because the outcome of self-regulation depends, in part, on the relevant comparison standards, self-focus will have a flexible effect on emotional intensity depending on the standard. But an earlier view (Scheier &Carver, 1977) argues that self-focused attention will always amplify emotional intensity because self-focus makes emotional states more salient. An experiment tested these different predictions. Participants were pre-selected for extreme emotionality standards: One group felt that emotions should be unregulated, and the other group felt that emotions should be inhibited. All persons were led to feel happy; self-focus was then manipulated using a large mirror. Consistent with the self-regulation view, persons with”inhibition” standards were significantly less happy when highly self- focused. Persons with”no regulation” standards, in contrast, were unaffected by high self-focus; the two groups didn’t differ when self-focus was low. Some implications for the intersection of self-awareness and emotional experience are considered.

Additional Information

Self and Identity, 1, 3-10
Language: English
Date: 2002
Self-awareness, Emotional intensity, Self-regulation of emotions

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