Strategic Automation of Emotion Regulation

Inge Schweiger Gallo, Andreas Keil, Kathleen C. McCulloch, Brigitte Rockstroh, Peter M. Gollwitzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As implementation intentions are a powerful self-regulation tool for thought and action (meta-analysis by P. M. Gollwitzer & P. Sheeran, 2006), the present studies were conducted to address their effectiveness in regulating emotional reactivity. Disgust- (Study 1) and fear- (Study 2) eliciting stimuli were viewed under 3 different self-regulation instructions: the goal intention to not get disgusted or frightened, respectively, this goal intention furnished with an implementation intention (i.e., an if-then plan), and a no-self-regulation control group. Only implementation-intention participants succeeded in reducing their disgust and fear reactions as compared to goal-intention and control participants. In Study 3, electrocortical correlates (using dense-array electroencephalography) revealed differential early visual activity in response to spider slides in ignore implementation-intention participants, as reflected in a smaller P1. Theoretical and applied implications of the present findings for emotion regulation via implementation intentions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-31
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009


  • disgust
  • emotion regulation
  • event-related potentials
  • fear
  • implementation intentions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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