Flash talks: Health, regulation, wellbeing

July 12th A2.11

Emotional responses to sexual violence: influence of previous sexual experiences, severity and gender

Marta Garrido-Macías, Inmaculada Valor-Segura & Francisca Expósito

Sexual aggression is one of the most humiliating forms of gender-based violence and produce severe emotional consequences. This research analyzes the influence that previous sexual victimization/perpetration, severity and gender have on emotional responses to a sexually risky scenario. In study 1, it was predicted that women will experience more negative emotions when the sexual aggression increase (Hypothesis 1a) and when they are victims (vs. nonvictims) (Hypothesis 1b). In study 2, it was expected men will experience more negative emotions when the sexual aggression increase (Hypothesis 1a) and when they are nonperpetrators (vs. perpetrators) (Hypothesis 1b). Finally, in study 3, men will experience less negative emotions than women when the sexual aggression increase (Hypothesis 1). College women (N=150) and men (N=98) completed a computer task in which they watched a video about a couple scenario that ended in a woman having unwanted sex with her male partner. Participants answered regarding their emotions in three temporary moments (baseline, time 1 and time 2), and their previous experiences of sexual victimization/perpetration. Results showed that victims had more negative emotional responses than nonvictims, but no differences were found between perpetrators and nonperpetrators. Moreover, women and men had more negative emotions when sexual aggression increased in severity. Finally, men had less negative emotions than women when the severity of the sexual aggression increased. Overall, the results indicate that previous sexual victimization/perpetration and the severity of the sexual aggression may be related to emotional responses to threatening sexual situations.

Sexual jealousy motivates men’s support for female honor norms

Pelin Gul & Tom Kupfer

In cultures with “female honor” norms, women are expected to cultivate a reputation for purity, chastity, and loyal behaviors such as wearing modest clothes and maintaining virginity before marriage. The dominant explanation for men’s support for female honor norms is that female infidelity and promiscuity threaten men’s honor, whereby such acts reflect badly on the reputation of the husband, and damage family and community relationships. Beyond this, the literature affords little understanding of the individual-level psychological mechanisms which produce men’s support for female honor norms. We propose that male sexual jealousy motivates men’s support of female honor norms beyond feelings of threat to male honor. Experimental studies conducted with MTurk samples found that men who were manipulated to feel sexual jealousy showed stronger support for female honor norms than men did in a control condition. The effect of sexual jealousy manipulation was specific to men’s support for female honor norms, and it did not lead to stronger support for other types of honor norms (masculine, family, and integrity honor). Furthermore, results showed that sexual jealousy was a stronger predictor of men’s support for female honor norms than feelings of threat to male honor. These findings can enhance understanding of the individual-level psychological and affective mechanisms that contribute to the evolution and maintenance of ideologies that enable the control of women’s reproductive behavior.

Emotion regulation repertoire: a multilevel latent profile analysis

Gloria Grommisch, Peter Koval & Tanja Lischetzke

In the research field of emotion regulation (ER), the concept of ER-flexibility has been introduced as the person's ability to use appropriate ER-strategies, depending on the situation´s requirements. One component of ER-flexibility is the ER-repertoire—the ability to use a wide range of ER-strategies that might accommodate different situational demands. A broader repertoire is assumed to favor functional ER. In the past years, repertoire has been examined by means of global judgements on dispositional ER and not yet by repeated measures of momentary ER-strategies. Our aim was to analyze ambulatory assessment data by means of multilevel latent profile analysis (ML-LPA) to identify different profiles of momentary ER-strategies and to test whether individuals with a broader ER-repertoire across situations report higher well-being. 179 Australian residents were prompted on their smartphones up to 16 times a day for 25 days to fill out short surveys on how they handled their emotions since the last survey. By means of ML-LPA of the ER-strategies, nine profiles on situation level and five profiles on person level were identified. Four situation-level profiles differed mainly in level (e.g., no use of any vs. strong use of all strategies). The other situation-level profiles differed in the specifically preferred ER-strategies. On person level, individuals differed in the probability with which they applied different ER-profiles across situations (e.g., a class of individuals using different ER profiles vs. a class using predominantly one profile). Analyses with covariates revealed that person-level classes differed in terms of life satisfaction, stress, anxiety and depression.

Connecting autonomic physiology to emotion regulation: The perspective of a dynamic approach

Roman Rutka, Vaida Verhoef, Sonia Pellissier & Pascal Hot

Current models describe the birth of an emotion as a progressive phenomenon in which a succession of several events takes place, leading to the emergence of an affective state. At each different step of this chain of events, some regulation mechanisms can intervene in order to modulate the experienced emotion. The study of Emotion Regulation can therefore beneficiate from taking into account the dynamic at which each of these processes occur. This cognitive view of a dynamic mechanism is coherent with a physiological approach of emotion, as the autonomic nervous system’s activity evolves continuously throughout an emotional event. Moreover, the current literature stresses out the fact that the reactions occurring while facing an emotional situation depend on the autonomic state preceding the event, and have physiological repercussions even several minutes after the experience of emotion is over. This involves three main stages, the three Rs of the autonomic states related to emotions: the Resting state that should be the starting point of any experimentation, the Reactivity phase corresponding to the occurrence of an emotional event, and finally the Recuperation phase, reflecting the aftermath of the previous stages. This presentation will aim to support the theoretical benefit of a dynamic approach in the study of emotions and to discuss the results yielded by empirical works.

Facebook using behaviour, emotion regulation, and wellbeing among students

Nutankumar Thingujam & Imlisongla Longkumer

There are 2,234 million Facebook users in the world and the highest users are recorded in India with 294 million users as of October 2018; the number is one on the rise. Thus, it is very important to understand Facebook using behaviour and its associated psychological patterns. Two studies examined the relationship between facebook using behaviour and emotional patterns in terms of emotion regulation strategy, affectivity, neuroticism and life satisfaction. In Study 1, one hundred and ninety nine students provided ratings to the facebook using behaviour survey, cognitive emotion regulation strategies, positive and negative affect scale, neuroticism, and satisfaction with life scale. Results showed that facebook using behaviour was associated with many cognitive regulation strategies, positive affectivity, negative affectivity, neuroticism, emotional suppression and cognitive reappraisal of negative emotion. But, life satisfaction was not associated with facebook using behaviour. In Study 2, one hundred and one university students responded to facebook using behaviour survey, positive and negative affect scale, flexible regulation of emotional expression scale, difficulties in emotion regulation scale, and Berkeley expressivity questionnaire. Results indicated that facebook using behaviours were associated with negative emotionality and few difficulties in emotion regulations, that is, non-acceptance of emotional responses, impulse control difficulties, and limited access to emotion regulation strategies. Positive affectivity, negative affectivity, and any kind of flexible regulation of emotional expressions were not associated with facebook using behaviours. Overall, the results suggest that facebook using behaviour is related to emotion regulation strategies and wellbeing.

Does emotional eating really exist? A laboratory study using idiosyncratic mood induction suggests yes

Rebekka Schnepper, Claudio Georgii & Jens Blechert

Literature reports that a majority of individuals decrease their food intake under stress and negative emotions (main effect model). Yet, for some individuals, the opposite might be the case (interindividual difference model) but it is controversial whether these individuals are characterized by trait level emotional eating style, by other traits, or by situational factors. Further, the choice of experimental mood induction technique and considering the intensity of trait emotional eating might play a role. In order to maximize personal relevance and to ensure effective negative mood induction, we used idiosyncratic autobiographical scripts of recent negative events. Participants with a wide range of trait emotional eating style questionnaire scores viewed food images in negative vs. neutral mood and rated their desire to eat. Multilevel modelling—treating mood intensity and trait emotional eating continuously—revealed a general decrease in desire to eat in negative mood compared to neutral state (consistent with the main effect model). In addition, consistent with an interindividual difference model, individuals with higher emotional eating scores and strong negative mood showed a relative increase of desire to eat, which transferred to an increased calorie intake during a latter taste test. This validates the concept of trait level emotional eating, at least for relatively strong, idiosyncratic, negative mood in a laboratory context.

A license to kill your diet: Emotions as a justification for self-regulation failure

Catharine Evers, Jessie de Witt Huberts & Denise de Ridder

Negative emotions typically seem to interfere with people’s good intentions and often undermine self-regulation attempts. It has remained unclear why negative emotions have this undesired effect. In the current work it is assumed that emotions are sometimes used as a license to justify self-regulation failure, a phenomenon coined emotional licensing. Study 1 was an explorative questionnaire to explore to what extent people use emotional licensing to overeat. Results revealed that participants (n = 101) recognize using emotions as a license to overeat and 50% used emotional licensing once per week or more. In Study 2 (n = 82) emotions were induced in the lab, followed by a license manipulation (emotional license vs. no license) and a bogus taste test with unhealthy foods to measure actual food intake. Despite feeling equally emotional, participants provided with a license revealed increased caloric intake compared to participants without a license. In Study 3 (n = 61) emotional licensing was manipulated more indirectly by varying the salience of the emotion induction (long-duration vs. short-duration vs. neutral control condition) and the bogus taste test entailed both healthy and unhealthy foods. Results revealed that, despite being equally emotional, more food was consumed in the long-duration than in the short-duration condition and than in the neutral control condition; this only applied to unhealthy foods, not to equally palatable healthy foods. These findings uncover an alternative pathway by which emotions can interrupt self-regulation and point towards emotions as an apology to indulge rather than indulgence as emotion regulation strategy.

Interactions between emotions and decision-making in behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia

Aurélie L. Manuel, Fiona Kumfor, John H. Hodges & Olivier Piguet

Negative and positive emotions have been shown to shape decision-making towards more or less impulsive responses respectively. Both processes also share a common brain network including the ventro medio-prefrontal cortex (vmPFC). How these two processes interact at the behavioral and brain levels is still unclear. Patients with behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD, n=14), who typically present with deficits in decision-making/emotion processing and lesions to the vmPFC and/or amygdala, healthy age-matched controls (n=13) and a group of healthy young controls (n=10) completed a delay discounting task. Participants were asked to choose between a hypothetical immediate reward and a later but greater, reward. Prior to each decision, participants were cued with a positive, negative or neutral picture. Preliminary behavioral results indicate that bvFTD patients were significantly more impulsive than both control groups (p<0.05), but emotion did not differently affect delay discounting. In controls, negative emotion increased delay discounting/impulsivity in young but not in older controls. These findings highlight a reduced effect of emotion on decision-making in older controls and bvFTD which appears to be mediated by different brain mechanisms. Ongoing neuroimaging analyses will further disentangle the interactions between the mPFC decision-making and emotion processing networks.