Project Information

Kurt Lewin Instituut
Heidelberglaan 1
Room Number H1.42
The Netherlands
T: +31 (0)30 - 253 3027

Project Information

Project Title
"Embodied emotion regulation"

VU University Amsterdam - Department of Clinical Psychology

PhD Student
Lotte Veenstra

Prof.dr. Paul van Lange (VU)
Dr. Sander Koole (VU)
Dr. Iris Schneider (VU)

1 October 2013 - 1 October 2016

External sources: ERC grant


In the research project, a new and integrative theoretical approach to the role of the body in emotion regulation will be investigated, namely the influence of embodiment on emotion regulation effectiveness. Drawing from modern theories of embodied cognition (e.g., Barsalou, 2008; Niedenthal, 2007; Smith & Semin, 2004), we propose that embodied (sensor-motor) processes may exert a pervasive influence on all forms of emotion regulation, even those that are targeted at cognitive systems such as attention or appraisals. From this perspective, recruiting appropriate embodiments may considerably enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of emotion regulation, but neglecting or interfering with embodiments may set people up for emotion-regulatory failure. However, because the influence of embodied processes is often implicit and automatic (Williams, Huang, & Bargh, 2009), it is easy to overlook the contribution of embodiments in adaptive emotion regulation. The project has two main focuses: first, it will concentrate on the influence of different embodiments on emotion regulation effectiveness. Second, we will study whether training embodiments is able to facilitate emotion regulation effectiveness. The results of this research will inform basic theories of emotion regulation and may point to new ways of treating people with emotion regulation problems such as anger management and depression.

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