Emotion Generation and Emotion Regulation: One or Two Depends on Your Point of View

Emot Rev. 2011 Jan;3(1):8-16. doi: 10.1177/1754073910380974.

Abstract

Emotion regulation has the odd distinction of being a wildly popular construct whose scientific existence is in considerable doubt. In this article, we discuss the confusion about whether emotion generation and emotion regulation can and should be distinguished from one another. We describe a continuum of perspectives on emotion, and highlight how different (often mutually incompatible) perspectives on emotion lead to different views about whether emotion generation and emotion regulation can be usefully distinguished. We argue that making differences in perspective explicit serves the function of allowing researchers with different theoretical commitments to collaborate productively despite seemingly insurmountable differences in terminology and methods.