ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2014, Vol. 22 ›› Issue (1): 9-13.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2014.00009

• Conceptual Framework • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The Neural Mechanism of Automatic Emotion Regulation and Its Plasticity

ZHANG Jing;ZHOU Renlai;LI Yongna;WEI Qingwang;HU Ping;LIU Ke   

  1. (1 Department of Psychology, Renmin University of China, Beijing 100875, China) (2 Beijing Key Lab of Applied Experimental Psychology (Beijing Normal University), Beijing 100875, China) (3 State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neurosciences and Learning (Beijing Normal University), Beijing 100875, China)
  • Received:2009-11-30 Online:2014-01-15 Published:2014-01-15
  • Contact: ZHANG Jing


Automatic emotion regulation (AER) is defined as any process that modifies any aspect of one's emotions without the need for conscious supervision or explicit intentions and without engaging in deliberate control. Research has gathered ample evidence that AER is effective in down-regulating negative emotions with low cost. The mechanism underlying AER, however, has not been studied. In four studies, we aim to examine the neural mechanism of AER, and to anchor the place where AER starts to affect emotion processing. Study 1 examines whether AER affect behavior intendancy in preparatory phase by recording EEG and analyzing AER's effect on frontal alpha laterality. In study 2 and study 3, we examine whether AER affect selective attention of facial expressions as well as the evaluation and behavior reaction stage. Furthermore, in study 4, a training of regulation goal was conducted to explore the plasticity of brain activity in AER. We expect to get a preparation-attention-evaluation-reaction model to explain the mechanism of AER based on the four studies, so as to provide theoretical and empirical evidences to control and intervene in emotion disorder.

Key words: automatic emotion regulation, neural machenism, plasticity, ERPs