Transcending the “good & bad” and “here & now” in emotion regulation: Costs and benefits of strategies across regulatory stages

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The scientific study of emotion regulation is flourishing, providing fundamental insights to our understanding of human functioning. While clearly important, in this chapter I zoom in on two major challenges in current theorizing and in existing empirical evidence. The “good & bad” problem refers to the categorization of regulatory strategies as being either adaptive or maladaptive. The “here & now” problem refers to concentration on a single regulatory stage that involves the actual execution or implementation of regulatory strategies. To transcend the “good & bad” problem, I provide a conceptual account, highlighting the underlying mechanisms of implemented regulatory options that yield a clear differential cost-benefit strategy profile. To transcend the “here & now” problem, I present a broad conceptual framework that views emotion regulation as a multistage phenomenon that includes important stages that precede and follow regulatory implementation. A central focus is given to a preimplementation regulatory selection stage, which involves choosing between available regulatory options in a manner that is sensitive to differing situational demands. Specifically, I review affective-cognitive-motivational determinants, underlying mechanisms, neural correlates, individual-social-cultural moderators, and developmental and clinical implications, of regulatory selection. I end by highlighting the importance of transcending the regulatory selection stage, by describing a postimplementation regulatory monitoring stage that involves deciding if and how to adapt actively implemented regulatory strategies, by describing a preimplementation regulatory identification stage that involves deciding whether to regulate one's emotions in the first place, and by linking regulatory stages together.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-236
Number of pages52
JournalAdvances in Experimental Social Psychology
StatePublished - 2020


  • Choice
  • Decision making
  • Disengagement
  • Emotion regulation
  • Engagement
  • Strategies

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology


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