Cognitive consequences of expressive suppression : effects of sex and emotional valence
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The present research was designed to examine whether sex and/or emotional valence pl aya role in the cognitive consequences (e.g., memory) of expressive suppression. Seventy-two (36 male and 36 female) undergraduates were randomly assigned to either a control or expressive suppression condition, and were asked to watch silent film clips intended to elicit amusement and disgust. While watching each film, participants listened to sixteen nonemotional words. After each film, participants were asked to answer questions about wha t they had seen in the film (visual memory), to recall as many words as they could (auditory recall memory), and to select from a list any words that they had heard during the previous film clip (auditory recognition memory). With regard to the effects of expressive suppression on visual memory, results indicated a 3-way interaction between condition, sex and film emotion: Men performed more poorly than women on the visual memory test after watching both the amusing and disgusting films in the control condition, and when watching the amusing film in the expressive suppression condition. However, men in the expressive suppression condition performed better than women after watching the disgusting film. In terms of the effects of expressive suppression on auditory memory (recognition and recall), a condition x film emotion interaction indicated that there was no difference in auditory memory for the expressive suppression and control conditions when watching the amusing film, but that the expressive suppression group showed poorer auditory memory than the control group for words presented during the disgusting film. Moreover, a ma in effect of sex on auditory memory suggested that men recalled and recognized more words than women across conditions. Taken together, these findings suggest that both sex and the emotional valence of films may influence the effects of expressive suppression on memory. Results will be discussed in the context of previous literature concerning the effects of expressive suppression on cognition.