Confronting Ego Threats with Reappraisal versus Rumination
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Two experiments compared the effects of two cognitive responses (i.e., rumination and cognitive reappraisal) individuals may adopt when confronted with a threat to self-regard. In Study 1, participants received negative feedback about their social skills and then rated the credibility of the source of the criticism. In Study 2, participants received negative feedback and then were given the opportunity to enhance the self on an unrelated task. Compared to reappraising the negative feedback, ruminating about the feedback led to poorer evaluations of the source of negative feedback and increased self-enhancement, respectively. These findings suggest that, compared to rumination, cognitive reappraisal helps to minimize defensive responses to ego threat.