Research Topic

Cognitive Control of Emotions in Challenging Contexts

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The ability to cognitively regulate our emotions has emerged as moderating factor to multiple forms of psychopathology and human behavior in general. Thus, the field of emotion regulation has faced a growing interest and popularity within social, cognitive and affective neuroscience over the past two decades. ...

The ability to cognitively regulate our emotions has emerged as moderating factor to multiple forms of psychopathology and human behavior in general. Thus, the field of emotion regulation has faced a growing interest and popularity within social, cognitive and affective neuroscience over the past two decades. Moving from strictly localized ‘amygdala-centred’ concepts and top-down prefrontal control systems to broader interactive network dynamics has clearly increased our understanding of how emotions can be controlled using a variety of emotion regulation strategies and analyses approaches. However, so far, research has mainly focused on investigating particular strategies, rarely considering situational and dispositional factors.

Situational and dispositional factors have the potential to influence the way we perceive and regulate our emotions. Situational factors could be e.g., chronic or acute stress, fatigue, hunger and other temporally dynamic motivational factors. Dispositional factors relate to personality and temperamental traits, both vices and virtues. The distinction between dispositional and situational factors in part is arbitrary and can be subsumed under challenging (or facilitating) contexts, that influence emotional regulation. An acute state of hunger or sleep deprivation may make a person less able or willing to engage in regulatory behavior, leading to a host of sub-optimal decision processes. An additional question in the context of this topic would be why some people in challenging contexts seem to be more prone for regulatory impairments than others.

In this Frontiers Research Topic, we aim to initiate a fruitful exchange between theoretical and applied researchers as well as clinicians from various disciplines and schools by bringing together recent empirical findings, meta-analysis, reviews and commentaries of the literature to date and opinion pieces relating to situational and dispositional factors that influence emotion regulation. Theoretical, conceptual and empirical contributions are welcome.


Keywords: emotion regulation, emotional reactivity, stress, state factors, trait factors


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