Implicit reappraisal as an emotional buffer: Reappraisal-related neural activity moderates the relationship between inattention and perceived stress during exposure to negative stimuli

  • Anoushka D. ShahaneEmail author
  • Richard B. Lopez
  • Bryan T. Denny


Emotion regulation often is an adaptive option in the face of elevated perceived stress. Perceived stress has been shown to have negative consequences for physical and mental health, including cognitive deficits and difficulties controlling attention. Cognitive reappraisal is an emotion regulation strategy that involves changing one’s cognitive construal of an emotionally evocative stimulus to alter its emotional impact. Reappraisal can be implemented explicitly or implicitly (i.e., with or without conscious awareness). The objective of the present study was to examine whether implicit cognitive reappraisal during exposure to negative stimuli moderates the relationship between inattention and perceived stress. We found, as expected, that inattention problems are associated with increased perceived stress, but also found that one’s spontaneous propensity to engage in cognitive reappraisal—as indexed by correspondence with a reliable thresholded whole-brain pattern of reappraisal implementation—moderated the relationship between inattention and perceived stress. Overall, the current study provides evidence that spontaneous reappraisal recruitment has a buffering effect on the relationship between inattention and perceived stress.


Emotion Regulation Implicit reappraisal fMRI Attention Perceived stress 



This work was supported by a Rice University Faculty Initiatives Fund Grant. Data were provided by the Human Connectome Project, WU-Minn Consortium (Principal Investigators: David Van Essen and Kamil Ugurbil; 1U54MH091657) funded by the 16 NIH Institutes and Centers that support the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research; and by the McDonnell Center for Systems Neuroscience at Washington University. We also would like to thank Samuel Nastase for providing very helpful feedback on the analysis approach during the revision process.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychological SciencesRice UniversityHoustonUSA

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