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date: 25 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

When life’s gentle breezes turn into threatening gales, we humans have a remarkable ability to adapt accordingly. This adaptability grants us a degree of control over not just our circumstances but also our emotional responses to them. We can keep our cool under stress, resist harmful temptations, and emerge resilient from all manner of trials and tribulations. We do so using a diversity of emotion regulation strategies that allow us to alter the nature, magnitude, and duration of our emotional responses in a variety of circumstances. The ability to regulate one’s emotions is one of the keys to leading a healthy and productive life and the failure to do so is a hallmark of many types of psychopathology, as well as a normal part of development for children and adolescents. A major motivator of the emerging science of emotion regulation is the need to better understand why and how these failures occur and lay the foundation for efforts to improve emotion regulation skills. With this in mind, the goals of this chapter are twofold. In the first section, a model of the cognitive control of emotion in healthy adults is outlined. In the second section, this model is used as a vantage point from which to survey recent efforts to examine emotion regulation in the contexts of development, aging, and psychopathology.

Keywords: emotion, emotion regulation, cognitive control, amygdala, prefrontal cortex

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