The authors propose that volitional action is supported by intuitive affect regulation, defined as flexible, efficient, and nonrepressive control of own affective states. Intuitive affect regulation should be most apparent among action-oriented individuals under demanding conditions. Consistent with this, a demanding context led action-oriented individuals to down-regulate negative affect in self-reports (Study 1), in an affective Simon task (Study 2), and in a face discrimination task (Study 3). In line with the idea that intuitive affect regulation is guided by top-down self-regulation processes, intuitive affect regulation in a face discrimination task was mediated by increases in self-accessibility (Study 3). No parallel effects emerged among action-oriented participants in a nondemanding context or among state-oriented participants.
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