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Theses Doctoral

Mechanisms of Positive and Minimizing Reappraisal

Dore, Bruce Pierre

The ability to find positive meaning and in turn generate positive emotions in the face of negative life circumstances is a protective factor against the harmful effects of stress, and a critical pathway to resilience and growth. Despite its clear importance, little is known about the brain mechanisms that support this ability, the processes that underlie decisions to implement it, or the long-term effects it has on memories of negative life experiences. Study 1 shows that finding positive meaning in negative experiences engages the brain’s system for reward valuation, whereas minimizing negative emotions dampens activity in a region involved in generating emotional arousal. Study 2 shows that spontaneous brain responses to aversive stimuli can be used to prospectively predict decisions to regulate emotion, and the predictive value of these responses is comparable across finding positive meaning and minimizing negative emotions. Study 3 shows that finding positive meaning and minimizing negative feelings can bring about distinct lasting effects on the content and affective impact of memories of negative experiences.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Psychology
Thesis Advisors
Ochsner, Kevin N.
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
October 17, 2016
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