The ability to regulate emotions is essential for psychological well-being. Therefore, it is particularly important to investigate the specific dynamics of emotion regulation. In a new approach, we developed a novel paradigm - the Script-based Reappraisal Test (SRT) - to measure the processes involved in reappraisal, especially reappraisal inventiveness, i.e. the ability to create multiple and differing reappraisals. The aim of this study was twofold: (1) experimentally validate the SRT and (2) investigate whether reappraisal inventiveness increases reappraisal effectiveness. Healthy students (N = 143) completed the SRT. In this task, we presented everyday emotional situations in textual form and instructed participants to either decrease negative emotions by generating different reappraisals (reappraisal-trials) or react naturally (control-trials) to the situations. After each trial, participants indicated their affective state (SAM) and typed in their reappraisal thoughts. Within-subjects analyses showed significantly less negative affect and arousal in reappraisal-trials compared to control-trials, indicating a successful emotion regulation through reappraisal. Contrary to our hypothesis, reappraisal inventiveness and reappraisal effectiveness were not related. The theoretical and practical implications are discussed in the light of a person-by-situation approach.
Keywords: Emotion regulation; cognitive reappraisal; reappraisal effectiveness; reappraisal inventiveness.