I’ll be presenting at the 2016 SPSP Emotion Preconference in the data blitz session. The session will take place from 11:20 – 12:00 on Thursday 28 January in room 6C of the San Diego Convention Centre.
Abstract: We generally think being positive is a good way to win friends and influence people. Yet, there are many contexts in which it is inappropriate to express positive emotion. To avoid social condemnation in such situations, it may be better to regulate one’s emotions by suppressing positive emotion. However, the majority of past research has found suppression to be a maladaptive strategy with personal and social costs. We argue this is because past research has not considered the moderating role of social context. We hypothesized that positive emotion expressions would be inappropriate when the valence of the emotion (e.g., positive) did not match the valence of the context (e.g., negative). Six studies show that in the case of an emotion-context mismatch, targets who suppress positive emotion are rated more positively than targets who express positive emotion. This provides the first evidence that suppression can be a socially useful regulation strategy in contexts that call for it.