Explicit and implicit emotion regulation: a dual-process framework

Cogn Emot. 2011 Apr;25(3):400-12. doi: 10.1080/02699931.2010.544160.


It is widely acknowledged that emotions can be regulated in an astonishing variety of ways. Most research to date has focused on explicit (effortful) forms of emotion regulation. However, there is growing research interest in implicit (automatic) forms of emotion regulation. To organise emerging findings, we present a dual-process framework that integrates explicit and implicit forms of emotion regulation, and argue that both forms of regulation are necessary for well-being. In the first section of this review, we provide a broad overview of the construct of emotion regulation, with an emphasis on explicit and implicit processes. In the second section, we focus on explicit emotion regulation, considering both neural mechanisms that are associated with these processes and their experiential and physiological consequences. In the third section, we turn to several forms of implicit emotion regulation, and integrate the burgeoning literature in this area. We conclude by outlining open questions and areas for future research.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Emotions*
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Models, Psychological
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Social Control, Informal*
  • Unconscious, Psychology*