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Increased attention among the research community in exploring underlying mechanisms of emotion regulation has prompted a growth of experimental works in this field. Empirical studies have mainly focused on self-reports, brain imaging, and electrophysiological measures, with only a few works exploring peripheral physiology. Additionally, most of such studies have not considered the specific stimuli content, even though prior literature has shown relevant differences in psychophysiological and subjective responses depending on picture categories. The current study assessed several peripheral correlates (startle amplitude, electrodermal changes, heart rate) of emotion regulation processes in a sample of 122 healthy participants. The task consisted of voluntary reappraisal of negative emotions prompted by unpleasant pictures (threat to others and victims), compared to a nonregulation control condition (looking at exemplars of the same categories and household objects). Results showed an effect of emotion regulation instructions in all psychophysiological and subjective measures. In peripheral physiology, greater responses were observed specifically when increasing negative emotions, concurring with previous research. Regarding specific content, our findings evidence a similar emotion regulation pattern, independently of the unpleasant category, suggesting a plausible effect of cognitive variables (such as cognitive effort) during voluntary reappraisal for both categories.
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Cardiovascular disease (CVD)
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