Cultural context moderates the relationship between emotion control values and cardiovascular challenge versus threat responses

Biol Psychol. 2010 Jul;84(3):521-30. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2009.09.010. Epub 2009 Sep 26.


Cultural context affects people's values regarding emotions, as well as their experiential and behavioral but not autonomic physiological responses to emotional situations. Little research, however, has examined how cultural context influences the relationships among values and emotional responding. Specifically, depending on their cultural context, individuals' values about emotion control (ECV; the extent to which they value emotion control) may have differing meanings, and as such, be associated with differing responses in emotional situations. We examined this possibility by testing the effect of two cultural contexts (28 female Asian-American (AA) versus 28 female European-American (EA) undergraduate students) on the associations between individuals' ECV and emotional responding (experiential, behavioral, and cardiovascular) to a relatively neutral film clip and a laboratory anger provocation. In the AA group, greater ECV were associated with reduced anger experience and behavior, and a challenge pattern of cardiovascular responding. In the EA group, greater ECV were associated with reduced anger behavior but not anger experience, and a threat pattern of cardiovascular responding. These results are consistent with the notion that individuals' values about emotion are associated with different meanings in different cultural contexts, and in turn, with different emotional and cardiovascular responses.

MeSH terms

  • Asian Americans / psychology
  • Cardiovascular Physiological Phenomena*
  • Conflict, Psychological*
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Electrocardiography / methods
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Male
  • Social Behavior
  • Students
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Universities