Research Projects

Efficiency of situation selection

Efficient emotion regulation permits better adaptation to emotional life and daily situations. Situation selection is a particular emotion regulation strategy that entails choosing an upcoming emotional situation. Two mechanisms may drive the regulatory effect of Situation selection on emotional responses. The first mechanism simply relates to the evaluation of the characteristics of the chosen option, people generally selecting the more positive situation. The second mechanism is linked to the hypothesis that having the choice regarding the upcoming emotional situation (independently of what we choose) would already be regulatory. Our research aims at investigating this latter hypothesis. Our first results show that contrary to other strategies that are efficient for negative situations but usually impair positive reactions (e.g., distraction), Situation selection may be efficient in all contexts. Remarkably, these effects are not driven by the content of the situations, but by the power of the choice itself.

Emotion reaction to illusory choice

With the project “Efficiency of situation selection”, we have shown that the unique fact of being given the choice regarding upcoming emotional situations can already have a beneficial effect in terms of emotion regulation. However, as already proposed by research on preferences, denial of choice generally makes people upset. However, its direct consequences on emotion responses, particularly when choice is a way to regulate emotion, have never been investigated. With this project, we aim at uncovering how illusory choice impacts emotion unfolding in order to frame the circumstances in which situation selection can be implemented in different settings. If the impact is heavily deleterious, then implementation will need to get rid of any likelihood of illusory choice occurrence. Conversely, if the impact has no significant consequences, implementation could tolerate more illusory choice.

Differential effect of distraction and reappraisal in trait-anxiety

Distraction, i.e., redirecting attention away from affective stimuli, and reappraisal, i.e., cognitively reinterpreting the triggering emotional situation, are well-investigated emotion regulation strategies. Both have well-known differential effects on emotion responses, reappraisal being often considered as a more adaptive strategy. Indeed, it generally triggers more reduction in negative emotion responses, particularly in the expressive and physiological domain, which are often left unaffected by distraction. However, reappraisal is supposed to be a cognitively demanding strategy, which needs available resource. In this project, we make the hypothesis that reappraisal and distraction may not have the same effect for population with different trait characteristic, for example regarding trait-anxiety.

Self-esteem and affective reactivity

Self-esteem, i.e., the extent to which we value ourselves, has been also recognized as being a trait involved in emotional intelligence. Past studies have shown that different degree of self-esteem may induce different way we regulate emotion. In this project, we take a step back and question whether self-esteem differences may induce different type of engagement in emotionally loaded situations. We are particularly interested in the mediation of particular cognitive evaluation of the situation, that could come into play to trigger these potential differences.

Yoga practice and affective reactivity

Yoga practice is supposed to enhance wellbeing and counteract psychopathology through superior emotion reactivity and regulation strategies. Yet, given the knowledge from yogic wisdom, we can also reason that emotional responses are less pronounced with longer and more frequent practice. With this project, we aim to disentangle this issue and highlight the specific effect of yoga practice (determined for example by its duration and frequency) on emotional reactivity. Our major goal is to identify stable and substantial changes yoga practitioners encounter in the way they engage in emotional situation and react to them.

Humor and emotion

We are particularly interested on humor appreciation and the role of appraisal in finding a stimuli funny or not. Our project plans to test several types of humorous stimuli corresponding to different kind of humor theories: the incongruity theory, corresponding to a cognitive point of view, and the superiority theory, corresponding to a more social point of view. Using psychophysiological measures, we would also like to assess the possible usefulness of humor as an emotion regulation strategy.