Reappraisal modulates attentional bias to angry faces

Shin Ah Kim, Hackjin Kim, Sang Hee Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Heightened attentional bias to emotional information is one of the main characteristics of disorders related to emotion dysregulation such as anxiety, depression, and substance abuse. Although reappraisal, an emotion regulation strategy, is known to effectively modulate subjective experience of emotions, it remains unknown whether reappraisal can alter attentional biases to emotional information. In the current research, we investigated the influence of instruction-induced state reappraisal (Study 1) and trait reappraisal (Study 2) on attentional biases to happy and angry faces. In Study 1, healthy young women were recruited and randomly assigned to one of the three groups: up-, down-, and no-regulation. Participants were instructed to reappraise their emotions to increase and decrease emotional experience while viewing an emotionally negative film clip. Attentional bias was assessed with a dot-probe task with pictures of angry and happy facial expressions. In Study 2, a separate group of healthy young men and women participated. Participants' trait reappraisal and suppression as well as state and trait anxiety were assessed. A dot-probe task was completed by all participants. Statistical tests in Study 1 revealed that participants who reappraised to decrease negative emotions while viewing an emotionally negative film clip had reduced attentional bias to subsequently presented angry faces compared to participants who reappraised to increase negative emotions. Multiple regression analyses in Study 2 revealed that trait reappraisal predicted slower orienting toward angry faces, whereas state anxiety predicted slower disengagement from angry faces. Interestingly, trait suppression predicted slower disengagement from happy faces. Taken together, these results suggest that both instruction-induced state reappraisal and trait reappraisal are linked to reduced attentional bias to negative information and contribute to better understanding of how everyday emotion regulation styles contribute to attentional processing of emotional information.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1841
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Issue numberNOV
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Nov 22

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea grants funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, the Republic of Korea (Nos. NRF-2014R1A1A2059849 and NRF-2015R1A2A1A15052283).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Kim, Kim and Kim.


  • Angry face
  • Attentional bias
  • Disengagement
  • Happy face
  • Orienting
  • Reappraisal
  • Suppression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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