ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2022, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (3): 477-485.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2022.00477

• Conceptual Framework •     Next Articles

The neural mechanism and transfer effect of creative cognitive reappraisal in negative emotion regulation

WU Xiaofei1(), XIAO Feng2, LUO Jing3()   

  1. 1Department of Psychology, Hangzhou Normal University, Hangzhou 311121, China
    2Department of Psychology, Shanxi Normal University, Taiyuan, 030000, China
    3Beijing Key Laboratory of Learning and Cognition, School of Psychology, Capital Normal University, Beijing 100048, China
  • Received:2021-09-05 Online:2022-03-15 Published:2022-01-25
  • Contact: WU Xiaofei,LUO Jing;


Cognitive reappraisal plays an important role in regulating negative emotions. However, traditional cognitive reappraisal has some issues, such as a lower reconstruction degree and a lower emotion regulation effect. Considering these issues, we propose an effective emotion regulation strategy called creative cognitive reappraisal, which refers to a novel and unique interpretation that is highly creative and appropriate for current emotional stimuli. During the emotion regulation process, an individual suddenly experiences an "Aha!" moment when combining the interpretation with the stimulus situation. This study found a dramatic shift from negative to positive emotions and a long-lasting regulatory effect. According to imaging results, creative cognitive reappraisal was associated with the formation of a novel association in the hippocampus and positive emotional arousal in the amygdala.

However, the guided reappraisal used in this work was more akin to an understanding of reappraisal interpretation than active emotion regulation, which has lower ecological validity. Furthermore, it is difficult to generate high creative reappraisal on one’s own, making the application of creative cognitive reappraisal challenging. Thus, the goal of this project is to teach participants how to learn the method of creative cognitive reappraisal and then transfer and apply this strategy to specific negative emotion regulation in daily life, i.e., to establish a "learn and then use" emotion regulation mode that can truly play the role of creative cognitive reappraisal during emotion regulation. Furthermore, because teenagers have more serious mood problems but also have higher creativity, this project intends to apply a creative cognitive reappraisal strategy for emotion regulation to teenagers while also teaching them creative emotion regulation strategies to assist them in learning cognitive transformations and reconstructions. This method can teach teenagers how to use positive emotional regulation strategies to deal with negative life events while also preserving their creativity.

The specific research contents are as follows: 1) exploring the transfer effect of creative cognitive reappraisal in negative emotion regulation of college students and adolescents; 2) investigating changes in brain activation and representation patterns before and after creative cognitive reappraisal transfer; and 3) examining the similarities and differences in the neural mechanisms of creative cognitive reappraisal transfer between adolescents and adults. This project is an extension and expansion of the applicant's existing work, and it would establish a theoretical foundation for verifying and promoting creative cognitive reappraisal as a learnable, usable and efficient emotional regulation strategy.

Key words: creative cognitive reappraisal, emotional regulation, transfer effect, neural bases

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