- The influence of emotion down-regulation on the expectation of sexual reward
- Behavior Therapy
- Volume | Issue number
- 46 | 3
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
Faculty of Medicine (AMC-UvA)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
Emotion regulation research has shown successful altering of unwanted aversive emotional reactions. Cognitive strategies can also regulate expectations of reward arising from conditioned stimuli. However, less is known about the efficacy of such strategies with expectations elicited by conditioned appetitive sexual stimuli, and possible sex differences therein. In the present study it was examined whether a cognitive strategy (attentional deployment) could successfully down-regulate sexual arousal elicited by sexual reward-conditioned cues in men and women. A differential conditioning paradigm was applied, with genital vibrostimulation as unconditioned stimulus (US) and sexually relevant pictures as conditional stimuli (CSs). Evidence was found for emotion down-regulation to effect extinction of conditioned sexual responding in men. In women, the emotion down-regulatory strategy resulted in attenuated conditioned approach tendencies towards the CSs. The findings support that top-down modulation may indeed influence conditioned sexual responses. This knowledge may have implications for treating disturbances in sexual appetitive responses.
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