The effect of cognitive reappraisal on long-term emotional experience and emotional memory

Hyeon Min Ahn, Shin Ah Kim, In Jae Hwang, Ji Woon Jeong, Hyun Taek Kim, Stephan Hamann, Sang Hee Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


One's ability to properly regulate emotion is critical to psychological and physical well-being. Among various strategies to regulate emotion, cognitive reappraisal has been shown to modulate both emotional experience and emotional memory. However, most studies of reappraisal have focused on reappraisal of negative situations, with reappraisal of positive emotion receiving considerably less attention. In addition, the effects of reappraisal on emotional reactions to stimuli are typically only assessed either immediately or after a short delay, and it remains unclear whether reappraisal effects persist over longer time periods. We investigated the effect of cognitive reappraisal on emotional reactions and long-term episodic memory for positive and negative stimuli. Men and women viewed emotionally negative, positive, and neutral pictures while they were instructed to either increase, decrease, or maintain the initial emotional reactions elicited by the pictures. Subjective ratings of emotional valence and arousal were assessed during the regulation task and again after 1 week. Memory for the pictures was assessed with free recall. Results indicated that pictures accompanied by instructions to increase emotion were better recalled than pictures reappraised to decrease emotion. Modulation of emotional arousal elicited by stimuli persisted over a week, but this effect was observed only for men. These findings suggest that cognitive reappraisal can have long-lasting effects on emotional reactions to stimuli. However, the sex differences observed for the effects of reappraisal on emotional reactions highlight the importance of considering individual differences in the effects of regulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-76
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neuropsychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Mar 1


  • arousal
  • emotion regulation
  • free recall
  • memory
  • reappraisal
  • valence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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