Metaphors Matter in Emotion Regulation
Recent studies of emotion regulation show that reappraisal modulates emotion more effectively than suppression, which can impair memory, raise blood pressure, and inhibit social interactions. Lisa Feldman Barrett and her colleagues offer an alternate psychological construction model of emotion regulation in which emotions shift as ongoing sensations are compared to different patterns of past sensory activity. All of these scientific studies indicate that emotion and emotion regulation involve the same neural processes and that emotion is best understood as occurring within a human self, not in opposition to a self that is separate from the emotions. Metaphors of darkness, paralysis, filth, and foul smells will likely lead to suppression rather than reappraisal because they encourage self-censorship. Emotion metaphors need to catch up with science, since they can drive people to stifle emotions that reassure people of their human value.
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