The integrative effects of cognitive reappraisal on negative affect: associated changes in secretory immunoglobulin A, unpleasantness and ERP activity

PLoS One. 2012;7(2):e30761. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0030761. Epub 2012 Feb 2.


Although the regulatory role of cognitive reappraisal in negative emotional responses is widely recognized, this reappraisal's effect on acute saliva secretory immunoglobulin A (SIgA), as well as the relationships among affective, immunological, and event-related potential (ERP) changes, remains unclear. In this study, we selected only people with low positive coping scores (PCSs) as measured by the Trait Coping Style Questionnaire to avoid confounding by intrinsic coping styles. First, we found that the acute stress of viewing unpleasant pictures consistently decreased SIgA concentration and secretion rate, increased perceptions of unpleasantness and amplitude of late positive potentials (LPPs) between 200-300 ms and 400-1000 ms. After participants used cognitive reappraisal, their SIgA concentration and secretion rate significantly increased and their unpleasantness and LPP amplitudes significantly decreased compared with a control condition. Second, we found a significantly positive correlation between the increases in SIgA and the decreases in unpleasantness and a significantly negative correlation between the increases in SIgA and the increases in LPP across the two groups. This study is the first to demonstrate that cognitive reappraisal reverses the decrease of SIgA. In addition, it revealed strong correlations among affective, SIgA and electrophysiological changes with convergent multilevel evidence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Emotions / physiology
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin A, Secretory / metabolism*
  • Visual Perception / physiology
  • Young Adult


  • Immunoglobulin A, Secretory