The Neural Bases of Emotion Regulation: Reappraisal and Suppression of Negative Emotion

Philip R Goldin, Kateri McRae, Wiveka Ramel, James J. Gross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1142 Scopus citations


Background: Emotion regulation strategies are thought to differ in when and how they influence the emotion-generative process. However, no study to date has directly probed the neural bases of two contrasting (e.g., cognitive versus behavioral) emotion regulation strategies. This study used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine cognitive reappraisal (a cognitive strategy thought to have its impact early in the emotion-generative process) and expressive suppression (a behavioral strategy thought to have its impact later in the emotion-generative process). Methods: Seventeen women viewed 15 sec neutral and negative emotion-eliciting films under four conditions-watch-neutral, watch-negative, reappraise-negative, and suppress-negative-while providing emotion experience ratings and having their facial expressions videotaped. Results: Reappraisal resulted in early (0-4.5 sec) prefrontal cortex (PFC) responses, decreased negative emotion experience, and decreased amygdala and insular responses. Suppression produced late (10.5-15 sec) PFC responses, decreased negative emotion behavior and experience, but increased amygdala and insular responses. Conclusions: These findings demonstrate the differential efficacy of reappraisal and suppression on emotional experience, facial behavior, and neural response and highlight intriguing differences in the temporal dynamics of these two emotion regulation strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)577-586
Number of pages10
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 15 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Amygdala
  • cognitive control
  • emotion
  • emotion regulation
  • fMRI
  • insula

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry


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