Theses Doctoral

Social Processes in the Experience and Regulation of Emotions

Shu, Jocelyn

The quality of our lives can be characterized, in part, by the emotions we experience. Feeling a preponderance of negative emotions is characteristic of a range of psychological and affective disorders. As such, the ability to regulate emotions has been recognized as critical for maintaining mental health. While definitions of emotions abound, they have been primarily conceptualized as intrapersonal responses to one’s environment. Yet, while our social interactions are an inseparable aspect of our emotional lives, relatively little emphasis has been placed in prior research on the social bases of emotional experiences. This dissertation presents three bodies of research that investigate the role of social processes in experiencing and regulating negative emotions.
In the first body of research, I present four studies that investigate how empathy, the ability to experience another person’s emotions, is involved in experiencing anxiety. In the second body of research, I transition to investigating the social bases of emotion regulation. Here, I present two multi-phase studies that investigate how social emotion regulation may be best implemented to help others experiencing different kinds of negative emotions. The third body of research investigates the neural bases of social emotion regulation. The results of these studies highlight how social processes are an inherent part of emotional experiences and emotion regulation.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Ochsner, Kevin N.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
April 26, 2019