Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Alexandra E. Roach

Second Advisor

Meredith Elzy

Third Advisor

Adam Pazda


Emotion regulation can be conceptualized as an individual’s ability to direct attention toward or away from a particular emotion eliciting stimuli (Gross, 2002). The current study examined the effectiveness of emotion regulation strategies at reducing the impact of negative affect and the subsequent impact on working memory capacity. Previous studies found differences in the use of cognitive reappraisal, expressive suppression, and mindful attention as emotion regulation strategies in relation to positive affect but no comparison has been made in regards to negative affect. In the current study, individuals assigned to use expressive suppression reported significantly less increase in negative affect compared to those assigned to use cognitive reappraisal, contrary to previous research. Cognitive load was found to significantly impact working memory as measured by accuracy and reaction time across all conditions. However, emotion regulation strategies were not found to be a factor impacting working memory as was predicted. Previous research has shown cognitive reappraisal to be associated with healthier affect patterns, social interactions and overall well-being as compared to expressive suppression (John & Gross, 2004). Similarly, individuals with in the current study, reporting high levels of cognitive reappraisal also report low levels of emotion dysregulation. While, individuals reporting high levels of expressive suppression reported high levels of emotion dysregulation and low levels of mindfulness.