Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Psychology

First Advisor

Kateri McRae

Second Advisor

Timothy Sweeny

Third Advisor

Kimberly Chiew

Fourth Advisor

Lauren McGrath


Affect, Cognitive reappraisal, Emotion, Emotion regulation


Cognitive reappraisal is widely recognized as an effective emotion regulation strategy for managing negative emotions. In laboratory research, reappraisal has been shown to attenuate self-reported negative affect as well as physiological and neurological markers of emotion and arousal. In these experiments, emotionally evocative images are frequently used to induce negative affect in participants. Depending on the trial condition, participants are instructed to either look and react naturally or to change their experience using reappraisal. Data are typically aggregated within trial condition, and the average difference in reported negative affect between conditions serves as the behavioral measure of reappraisal success. While reappraisal effects have been seen across multiple variations of this paradigm, there are several trial-level parameters that might contribute to the overall effectiveness of reappraisal but are currently not well-understood. We conducted a series of analyses that leverage a database of picture-based reappraisal experiments in order to examine potential triallevel factors that may promote or hinder reappraisal success. The first series of analyses examines the overall robustness of the reappraisal effect and estimates the power to detect this effect within different sample sizes. In a second series of analyses, we test what trial level factors are predictive of negative affect. Likewise, we examine whether time, in terms of a trial’s ordinal position within the task, influences negative affect reported across different trial conditions. We propose and test several competing hypotheses as to whether participants habituate or sensitize to negative images over time and whether reappraisal becomes more effective with practice or less effective due to fatigue. In a third series of analyses, we examine whether the preceding trial condition influences self-reported affect on the current trial. These results will ideally contribute to a better understanding of the cognitive and affective determinants of reappraisal and may have implications for the design of future reappraisal experiments.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Damon Abraham


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

86 pgs