Weeks, G. A. (2022). Was I really that upset?: The Role of Affective Working Memory in Cognitive Reappraisal. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.14418/wes01.1.2657
When faced with undesirable situations, it is adaptive to be able to regulate one’s emotions. One effective emotion regulation strategy is cognitive reappraisal, or the ability to reframe one’s interpretation of a situation in order to change the emotional response. Working memory is thought to be an underlying mechanism involved in cognitive reappraisal, but exactly which specific working memory system is involved remains unclear. Here, I hypothesized that there is a positive relationship between cognitive reappraisal ability and affective working memory, or working memory specifically for emotions, as the ability to change one’s emotional response may rely on the maintenance and modification of emotional states. In this study, participants completed both a cognitive reappraisal task and an affect maintenance task. Performance on these two tasks was not found to be related, suggesting that affective working memory is not an underlying mechanism involved in cognitive reappraisal. In addition, neither of these abilities were related to the clinical measures of anxiety or rumination. This study aids in our understanding of cognitive reappraisal, which is important for informing therapies to help those with mental illness.