Emotion regulation of social exclusion: a cross-cultural study

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Social exclusion is harmful to basic human needs. Emotion regulation represents a potential coping strategy. As culture can influence how people react and regulate their emotions, this study examined whether emotional reaction and regulation in response to social exclusion differ between individualistic and collectivistic cultures. A total of 80 college students, half White (n = 40, recruited in Manchester, UK) and half East Asian (n = 40, recruited in Shenzhen, China) viewed social exclusion pictures expressed by same-race or other-race characters. Both groups of participants viewed these pictures under no-reappraisal (passive viewing) and reappraisal (reinterpretation) conditions. Participants rated their vicarious negative emotional experience after each picture presentation. Results showed that both White and East Asian participants expressed greater negative emotion and showed stronger emotion regulation effects when facing own-race social exclusion, i.e., the “own-race bias”. In addition, White participants were more capable of regulating the negative emotions elicited by social exclusion compared to East Asian participants. Findings highlight the importance of considering the role of culture in emotional reaction to and emotion regulation of social exclusion, which may help the development of appropriate interventions across diverse populations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number173
JournalHumanities and Social Sciences Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jul 2021


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