"Just stop thinking about it": Effects of emotional disengagement on children's memory for educational material

John A. Rice, Linda J. Levine, David A. Pizarro
2007 Emotion  
Children regulate negative emotions in a variety of ways. Emotion education programs typically discourage emotional disengagement and encourage emotional engagement or "working through" negative emotions. The authors examined the effects of emotional disengagement and engagement on children's memory for educational material. Children averaging 7 or 10 years of age (N ϭ 200) watched either a sad or an emotionally neutral film and were then instructed to emotionally disengage, instructed to
more » ... instructed to engage in problem solving concerning their emotion, or received no emotion regulation instructions. All children then watched and were asked to recall the details of an emotionally neutral educational film. Children instructed to disengage remembered the educational film better than children instructed to work through their feelings or children who received no emotion regulation instructions. Although past research has indicated that specific forms of emotional disengagement can impair memory for emotionally relevant events, the current findings suggest that disengagement is a useful short-term strategy for regulating mild negative emotion in educational settings.
doi:10.1037/1528-3542.7.4.812 pmid:18039051 fatcat:fxmct6yixrfstfw6br2mowgit4