In this article I propose that cognitive inhibition is a key mechanism in the regulation of emotion and that deficits in inhibition of negative material are related to increased risk for depression. Because negative mood yields activation of mood-congruent cognitions in working memory (WM), the ability to control the contents of WM could be crucial in differentiating people who recover easily from negative affect from those who initiate a vicious cycle of increasingly negative thinking and deepening sad mood. Depressed people and people at risk for depression have trouble preventing negative material from entering and remaining in WM, leading them to rehearse, or to ruminate about, negative content. Inhibition deficits may also interfere with reappraisal and the recall of mood-incongruent material, further hindering recovery from negative affect. This article provides a brief summary of findings that support these propositions and outlines implications for future research on the relation between inhibition and emotion regulation and its role in depression.
- Emotion regulation
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