Emotion Regulation of Others and Self

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Webb, T., Sheeran, P., Totterdell, P., Miles, E., Mansell, W., & Baker, S. (2012). Using implementation intentions to overcome the effect of mood on risky behavior. British Journal of Social Psychology, 51, 330-345. DOI:10.1348/014466610X533623


Two experiments investigated whether forming an if–then plan or implementation
intention could break the link between mood and risky behaviour. In Expt 1, participants
planned how to deal with unpleasant moods. Next, as part of an ostensibly unrelated
experiment, participants underwent a disguised mood induction before rating their
willingness to perform a series of risky behaviours. Unpleasant mood increased
subsequent risk willingness among participants who did not form a plan but did not
influence risk willingness among participants who formed an implementation intention.
In Expt 2, mood arousal was manipulated and participants then undertook a gambling
task. One-half of the sample formed implementation intentions that focused attention
on the odds of winning. Greater arousal led to more risky betting among control
participants. However, forming an implementation intention promoted good risk
awareness and, consequently, shielded participants’ task performance from the effects
of arousal. Taken together, the findings suggest that people can strategically avoid the
detrimental effect of unpleasant mood and arousal on risk by forming implementation
intentions directed at controlling either the experience of mood or the risky behaviour.

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