Emotion Regulation Strategies That Promote Learning: Reappraisal Enhances Children’s Memory for Educational Information


  • Elizabeth L. Davis is now a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Psychology, The Pennsylvania State University.

    This study was funded by a dissertation award from the Society for Research in Child Development (Student and Early Career Council) and an Elizabeth Munsterberg Koppitz graduate research scholarship from the American Psychological Foundation, both to the first author. We also wish to thank the research assistants who participated in data collection and coding.

concerning this article should be addressed to Elizabeth L. Davis, 101D USB I, Child Study Center, University Park, PA 16802. Electronic mail may be sent to eld14@psu.edu.


The link between emotion regulation and academic achievement is well documented. Less is known about specific emotion regulation strategies that promote learning. Six- to 13-year-olds (= 126) viewed a sad film and were instructed to reappraise the importance, reappraise the outcome, or ruminate about the sad events; another group received no regulation instructions. Children viewed an educational film, and memory for this was later assessed. As predicted, reappraisal strategies more effectively attenuated children’s self-reported emotional processing. Reappraisal enhanced memory for educational details relative to no instructions. Rumination did not lead to differences in memory from the other instructions. Memory benefits of effective instructions were pronounced for children with poorer emotion regulation skill, suggesting the utility of reappraisal in learning contexts.