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Advances in Human-Computer Interaction
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 856726, 10 pages
Research Article

Should I Stop Thinking About It: A Computational Exploration of Reappraisal Based Emotion Regulation

Cognitive Science Department, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 110 8th Street, Troy, NY 12180, USA

Received 1 August 2014; Revised 29 March 2015; Accepted 11 May 2015

Academic Editor: Elisabeth André

Copyright © 2015 Mei Si. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Agent-based simulation of people’s behaviors and minds has become increasingly popular in recent years. It provides a research platform to simulate and compare alternative psychological and social theories, as well as to create virtual characters that can interact with people or among each other to provide pedagogical or entertainment effects. In this paper, we investigate computationally modeling people’s coping behaviors and in particular in relation to depression, in decision-theoretic agents. Recent studies have suggested that depression can result from failed emotion regulation under limited cognitive resources. In this work, we demonstrate how reappraisal can fail under high levels of stress and limited cognitive resources using an agent-based simulation. Further, we explored the effectiveness of reappraisal under different conditions. Our experiments suggest that for people who are more likely to recall positive memories, it is more beneficial to think about the recalled events from multiple perspectives. However, for people who are more likely to recall negative memories, the better strategy is to not evaluate the recalled events against multiple goals.