Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Robert L. West


Antecedent-focused strategies of emotion regulation involve modifying thoughts shortly after an emotional stimulus is encountered. Cognitive reappraisal and distraction represent two forms of antecedent-focused emotion regulation. The current study used event-related brain potentials (ERPs) to examine whether

regulation interacts with the content of emotional information (Experiment 1), the neural correlates of these two forms of emotion regulation and their effectiveness in decreasing negative emotion (Experiment 2 and 3), the pattern of neural recruitment during regulation (Experiment 1, 2, and 3), and role of working memory and

metacognition in regulation (Experiment 3). In each experiment, individuals were asked to first view an emotional picture, then, based on a cue, continue to think about the picture, reappraise the picture, or use a form of distraction (i.e., either self directed or experimenter directed) to deploy attention away from the picture. Differences in neural activity were found in all three experiments. In Experiment 1,

the LPP was reduced in amplitude for reappraisal trials relative to attend trials for violent picture content. In Experiment 2, the LPP was reduced in amplitude for reappraise trials, relative to attend trials. In contrast, there was little difference in the amplitude of the LPP between distract and attend trials. Experiment 3 failed to establish an association between WMC and emotion regulation, or metacognition

and emotion regulation. Together, these data highlight the neural correlates of successful emotion regulation and directions for future research.


Copyright Owner

Brandy Nicole Tiernan



File Format


File Size

140 pages