This research investigated whether the physical act of enclosing an emotionally laden stimulus can help alleviate the associated negative emotions. Four experiments found support for this claim. In the first two experiments, emotional negativity was reduced for participants who placed a written recollection of a regretted past decision or unsatisfied strong desire inside an envelope. A further experiment showed that enclosing a stimulus unrelated to the emotional experience did not have the same effect. Finally, we showed that the effect was not driven by participants simply doing something extra with the materials, and that the effect of physical enclosure was mediated by the psychological closure that participants felt toward the event.
Thursday, September 02, 2010
Sealing the emotions genie
Need to put out of mind an unpleasant memory or unfulfilled desire? By offering yet another example of embodied cognition and metaphorical thinking Li et al. may have just the trick for you: