Voluntary/involuntary emotional processes and aggressive behavior
Kim, Min Young
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This study estimated the association between aggressive behavior and two different types of emotion regulation, one operating on the conscious level with voluntary effort (i.e., suppression) and the other operating on the unconscious level with involuntary effort, or automatically (i.e., repression). Results from a correlation analysis among self-assessed suppression and repression and other-rated aggressive behavior showed that repression is more significantly linked to aggressive behavior than suppression. Further investigation using physiological and neural assessments was performed to determine the critical properties, including cardiac reactivity and neural substrates, of repression related to aggressive behavior. Based on the findings from multiple approaches in assessment, this study suggests that unconscious emotion change inferred from self-assessed repression (in Study 1) and neural activity (in Study 2) more significantly predicts aggressive behavior than personality. Implications for both aggression and emotion research are discussed along with the measurement equivalence issue.