The affective biasing of attention is not typically considered to be a form of emotion regulation. In this article, we argue that 'affect-biased attention' - the predisposition to attend to certain categories of affectively salient stimuli over others - provides an important component of emotion regulation. Affect-biased attention regulates subsequent emotional responses by tuning one's filters for initial attention and subsequent processing. By reviewing parallel research in the fields of emotion regulation and affect-biased attention, as well as clinical and developmental research on individual differences in attentional biases, we provide convergent evidence that habitual affective filtering processes, tuned and re-tuned over development and situation, modulate emotional responses to the world. Moreover, they do so in a manner that is proactive rather than reactive.
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