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An investigation of connections between resilience, cognitive processing propensities and personality traits

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An investigation of connections between resilience, cognitive processing propensities and personality traits
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Baldwin-Kirckhoff, Heidi
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Denver, Colo.
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Metropolitan State University of Denver
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An Investigation of Connections between Resilience, Cognitive Processing Propensities and
Personality Traits
by Heidi Baldwin-Kirckhoff
An undergraduate thesis submitted in partial completion of the Metropolitan State University of Denver Honors Program
December 2014
Dr. Pamela Ansburg Dr. Courtney Rocheleau Dr. Megan Hughes-Zarzo
Primary Advisor
Second Reader
Honors Program Director


Running Head: INVESTIGATION OF RESILIENCE, COGNITIVE PROCESSES AND PERSONALITY TRAITS
An Investigation of Connections between Resilience, Cognitive Processing Propensities and
Personality Traits
Heidi A.E. Baldwin-Kirchhoff and Pamela I. Ansburg Metropolitan State University of Denver
Author Note
This research was supported by a 2013-14 CUR/Psi Chi Summer Research Grant. Any opinions, findings, or conclusions within this work are those of the authors and not necessarily the views of the Psi Chi The International Honors Society in Psychology.


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Abstract
Resilience is the ability to maintain or regain mental health in the face of hardship (e.g, Wu et al., 2013). The current work reports two studies assessing whether the basic cognitive processes of reappraisal and inhibition underlie resiliency. Study 1 assessed whether reappraisal ability increased resilience. A total of 66 college students, under various reappraisal instruction conditions, viewed a negatively emotionally-charged video (Malooly et al., 2013). A paired /-test comparing post-viewing moods across the reappraisal instruction conditions showed null results (p = .948), and prevented a test of the primary hypothesis. However, exploratory analyses revealed significant relationships between Resilience, Extraversion and Neuroticism, and mood (correlations ranged from r = -.26 to .56, p < .05). The second study tested whether those who show strong inhibitory skills for irrelevant neutral and emotional stimuli would show high resiliency. Performance on traditional and emotional Stroop tasks indicated 126 college students ability to inhibit interfering stimuli. Resilience failed to predict interference scores for either Stroop task (p >.05). Resilience predicted both Extraversion and Neuroticism, r(l 15) = A0,p < .01 and r( 112) = -.43, p < .01 respectively. Limitations of the present work leave open the question of how basic cognitive processes influence resilience.


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Investigation of Resilience, Cognitive Processes and Personality Traits
Every human experiences stressful events from time to time. The personality trait of resilience enables individuals to bounce back after emotionally stressful and challenging experiences (Gross, 1998; Malooly, Genet, & Siemer, 2013; McLarnon & Rothstein, 2013;
Smith, Tooley, Christopher & Kay, 2010; Wu et al., 2013). Resilience enhances individuals coping abilities and increases ones overall sense of well-being. Resilience is the ability to adapt, maintain, or regain mental health in the face of hardship (Herrman et al., 2011; Lu, Wang, Liu, & Zhang, 2014). For example, imagine that an individual worked on a sales proposal for a large account to find that after a year of meetings and negotiations the deal fell through. Some individuals would mentally reinforce feelings of failure by ruminating over the details of the negative event. These individuals who reinforce negative emotions are more likely to persist in a negative emotional state and tend to have higher neuroticism levels. On the other hand, resilient individuals still feel some negative emotions related to the event, but would adapt more quickly after failure and regain a positive or neutral emotional state. These more resilient individuals tend to have higher extraversion levels and more positive affect. Because resilience contributes to mental health it is important to understand if it can be developed or increased through training. The present work endeavors to test if the cognitive factors of reappraisal and inhibition positively relate and contribute to individual resilience levels.
The personality traits of neuroticism and extraversion are both predictive of individual resilience. Neuroticism is a propensity to feel negative affect such as anxiety, sorrow, humiliation, anger and blame (Jeronimus, Ormel, Aleman, Penninx, & Riese, 2013; Lu et al., 2014). It is important to note that mild negative affect can increase some cognitive functions such as inhibition, while more severe negative affect can cause great difficulty in the ability to


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inhibit a negative emotional response (Schmeichel & Tang, 2015). Neuroticism has been shown to be negatively correlated to resilience (Lu et al., 2014). In other words, if one tends to experience more negative emotions then resilience is lower for this individual. On the other hand, individuals with high extraversion tend to experience more positive affect such as pleasurable social interactions, vivacity, and enthusiasm (Watson, Clark, & Tellegen, 1988). Positive affect increases some cognitive processes such as the ability to switch from one task to another (Schmeichel & Tang, 2015). For example, an individual with high positive affect would be better able to quickly and competently adapt when presented with different situations. Positive affect is positively related to resilience (Cheng & Furnham, 2003; Lu et al., 2014). In other words the more positive affect an individual experiences the higher their resilience level. Cognitive Processes, Personality Propensities and Resilience
Cognitive flexibility is the ability to shift, modify, or inhibit thoughts to accomplish a goal within a situation (Genet & Siemer, 2011; Malooly et al., 2013). When faced with problems, individuals who are cognitively flexible avoid getting stuck in an unproductive mental rut; and instead, generate alternative strategies. Individuals who are less cognitively flexible are less able to inhibit or switch thoughts and tend to remain in the same thought pattern. The lowered ability to be cognitively flexible results in a weaker ability to generate new strategies when faced with a challenge. Those who demonstrate resiliency to overcome life challenges and maintain overall well-being show cognitive and affective flexibility (Genet & Siemer, 2011), it seems likely that flexibility is involved in resilient thinking. Cognitive flexibility involves the abilities to: 1) inhibit the intrusion of irrelevant or misleading information and 2) shift the course of ones thinking to avoid fixed mental states. Cognitive flexibility involves inhibiting the tendency to focus on obstacles and allows individuals to switch to more adaptive mental tactics (Genet &


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Siemer, 2011). To explain further, cognitive flexibility gives individuals the ability to mentally shift from one task to a different task. For example, if a student in a classroom is asked to work on their spelling for a portion of a morning. After an hour, the teacher asks the class to put away their spelling and begins a math lesson. Individuals who have better cognitive flexibility will find switching to a new task easier than those with lower cognitive flexibility skill.
Affective flexibility refers to the circumstance in which the inhibitory and shifting processes are applied to emotional content. Flexible affective processing helps individuals to maintain emotional equilibrium while experiencing emotionally charged events by avoiding negative emotions and switching to a more positive viewpoint. For example, imagine an individual received a criticism from a close friend, and begins to feel hurt by the comment. Our individual then realizes their friend is just in a bad mood and shifts from the feelings of hurt to more neutral emotions. In this instance, the individual is displaying affective flexibility. The ability to be affectively flexible suggests the ability to process emotional information in a malleable way. Because cognitive and affective flexibility enables individuals to inhibit maladaptive responses and switch to more adaptive mental tactics, both should contribute to resilient responding (Genet & Siemer, 2011).
The present work investigated the role of reappraisal and inhibition, and how these cognitive processes are related to resilience. Reappraisal empowers an individual to reduce the effect and significance of a situation by transforming the impact of the negative event (Gross, 1998; Troy, Wilhelm, Shallcross, & Mauss, 2010). In other words, cognitive reappraisal is the ability to refocus on a different thought rather than on the reactive thought. When individuals can apply reappraisal processes to emotional content they can adaptively shift an emotional response to an event (Malooly et al., 2013). In this instance, flexibility increases individual ability to


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change the meaning of the incident when experiencing an emotional event. As an example of emotional reappraisal, say someone views a disturbing news report and immediately feels a stressful emotion. Individuals who are emotionally flexible and able to reappraise are better able to quickly change their emotional response to a more neutral or positive state. Those who can show affective flexibility and reappraise emotional situations are better able to recognize a negative emotional reaction and then change thoughts and therefore change their response to an event (Malooly et al., 2013; Troy et al., 2010). Malooly et al. (2013) found that individual differences in the ability to reappraise an emotional situation could be accounted for by differences in cognitive and affective flexibility. The current study tests whether resilience is positively related to cognitive and/or emotional reappraisal.
Inhibition
Inhibition is the cognitive process that involves affective inhibition and cognitive inhibition. Affective inhibition is the ability to stop an emotional response to a stressor and cognitive inhibition enables individuals to block out unrelated information and maintain self-awareness (Genet & Siemer, 2011). Inhibition is a skill that enables individuals to restrain their response to an event. For example, imagine that an individual is working on an email to his/her supervisor, and another employee begins yelling in the hallway. The ability to cognitively inhibit would enable the individual to completely ignore the irrelevant outburst in the hallway while they finish an important email. This situation is an example of cognitive inhibition. To explain further, imagine that the outburst in the hallway contains an emotionally charged comment directed towards our individual, in this case the individual would also need to prevent his/her emotional response to the comment to finish the important email. This experience is an example of emotional inhibition. The ability to inhibit a reaction to an event contributes to an individuals


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cognitive and affective flexibility (Genet & Siemer, 2011). Individuals who exhibit cognitive and affective flexibility are also likely to possess high levels of resilience (Genet & Siemer, 2011). Genet and Siemer (2011) used task-switching problems to measure individual cognitive and affective flexibility and measured how these cognitive processes contribute to resilience. The method used in the Genet and Siemer (2011) study required participants to use both inhibitory and shifting processes; thus, their work did not determine the separate contributions of inhibition and shifting processes to predicting resiliency. Further, some of their findings suggested that inhibition is likely the stronger predictor of resiliency than is shifting skill. The goal of the present work is to test whether inhibition is a predictor of resilience.
Study 1
The present work investigates whether the ability to reappraise predicts individual resilience levels. Those who reappraise adverse events can shift emotional responses to more neutral ones. Study 1 tests reappraisal ability by showing participants an emotionally charged video while asking them to reduce their emotional response or to view the clip unregulated. The hypothesis for study 1 is that those with strong ability to reappraise will also show increased resilience levels.
Method
Participants.
In the reappraisal study, participants were 41 female and 25 male college students whose ages ranged from 18 to 41 (M= 24.08, SD = 5.68). The participants were 6 seniors, 20 juniors, 20 sophomores, and 19 were freshmen. Ethnic makeup was 77% White, 9% African American,


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22.4% Hispanic, and 20.5% other ethnic category.1 In exchange for their time, participants earned points for their Introduction to Psychology course.
Materials and Procedure.
Some of the materials and methods for the current study replicated portions of the Malooly, Genet, and Siemer (2013) study. In the current work, each participant completed the study individually on a computer in a private cubicle. For each data collection session, there were enough computers and cubicles to run 14 individuals simultaneously. After reading the informed consent information, participants answered demographic questions and completed a baseline assessment of their current emotional state. To measure participants baseline emotional state they rated the extent to which emotional words such as depressed and content, on a 7-point Likert scale indicated their current emotional state. A rating of 1 indicated that the word was wot at all their current emotional state and 7 indicated that the word fit their current emotional state a great deaF (Malooly et al., 2013). Participants then completed The Eysenck Personality Questionnaire: Brief Version (Sato, 2005) to determine individual levels of neuroticism and extraversion personality traits. This neuroticism and extraversion measure asked participants to rate phrases on a scale of 1 (not at all) to 5 {extremely). For example the phrase Are you rather lively? measured extraversion and Are you a worrier? measured neuroticism (Sato, 2005). Participants then completed the Connor-Davidson Resiliency Scale (CD-RISC; Connor & Davidson, 2003) to measure individual levels of resilience. Participants indicated how much they agreed with statements such as Having to cope with stress can make me stronger on a 5-point scale. In the Connor-Davidson Resiliency Scale a rating of 1 indicated that participants felt the
1 Participants reported all ethnic groups that applied to their ethnicity, allowing participants to report shared ethnic backgrounds. The ability to report all ethnicities that applied to the participants ethnic backgrounds is why the percentage total is greater than 100%.


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statement was not true at air and 5 indicated they felt the statement was true nearly all the time
After completing these measures, participants received information that they would be watching a short film clip and that they would receive instructions about how to view the film clip. Per Malooly et al. (2013), all participants read that they would be shown either a "view unregulated" or "decrease emotion" instruction prior to the film. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three instruction conditions; two "decrease emotion" groups and one "view unregulated" group. The participants in the "decrease emotion group were divided into either the "reappraisal with regular instructions" group or the reappraisal with counter-demand instruction group. Those in the reappraisal with regular instructions received instructions to view the film while trying to block their feelings about the film, while the "reappraisal with counter demand instructions" group received instruction to try to block their feelings but to be aware that sometimes trying to block feelings actually resulted in the counterintuitive outcome of feeling emotions more intensely. The participants who saw the "view unregulated" cues are those considered to be in the reactivity control group. These participants received instructions asking them to attempt to fully experience any emotions that arise while watching the film.
Participants then watched a 2:44 minute film clip from the film "The Champ"(Lovell, Marion, & Zeffrelli, 1979). While they viewed the clip either the "view unregulated" or "decrease emotion" instruction was displayed on the screen. Post-video all participants completed an 18-word post emotional state measure to indicate their mood after viewing the clip. Participants rated such words as cheerful and sad on a scale from 1 which indicated they felt that mood very slightly or not at alF to 5 which indicated they felt that mood extremely (Malooly, personal communication, March 21, 2014).


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Finally participants complete a short emotion-regulation follow-up questionnaire about their experience (Malooly et al., 2013). This questionnaire was designed to help understand the emotion participants may have felt while watching the video. For the view unregulated group participants indicated how much sadness they felt during the clip and to indicate this on a 1 to 7 scale, 1 being the least emotion rating and 7 being the most emotion rating. The view unregulated group also indicated what they did during the video. The decrease emotion groups rated on a scale from 1 to 7 how difficult they felt decreasing their emotions would be, how successful they were at feeling less emotion and how much sadness did they feel during the clip. These two groups then indicated if they received information that decreasing emotions would be hard. Finally, both groups explained what they did to decrease their emotions during the clip.
Results/Discussion
Preliminary data were screened using an instruction check item on which participants indicated which viewing cue they had been asked to follow prior to viewing the video. The answer to this question was used to determine if participants understood the viewing instruction. The participants who correctly identified the viewing instructions they received were included in further analysis. In addition, one participant was removed from the data set as the participant answered every question with a 1. This resulted in 66 valid participants for analysis.
An independent samples t-test indicated no significant difference in post-sadness ratings between the decrease emotions group and the decrease emotions with counter demand instructions" allowing for these to be combined into one group for further analysis, (t(64) = 1.76, p = .08). In total, the two groups included 22 in the view normally group and 44 in the decrease emotion group. To test if post-video sadness ratings differed between groups an


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independent samples t-test was used. The independent samples t-test indicated no significant difference in sadness ratings between the view normally and decrease emotions groups, t (64) = 1.76, p = .67. This result suggests that the reappraisal instructions were ineffective. The reappraisal level for the view normally group was about the same level as the decrease emotions group. Without a significant reappraisal effect it was impossible to test whether those who have better reappraisal ability would show higher levels of resilience.
However, exploratory analysis showed some interesting results in the correlations between resilience and the personality traits of extraversion and neuroticism. The correlations between scores of resilience, extraversion and neuroticism are in Table 1. Resilience scores were positively correlated to extraversion; individuals who report higher resilience also showed increased extraversion. This finding makes sense as extraversion and resilience tend to share some level of positive affect. Resilience scores were negatively correlated to neuroticism. In other words, as resilience scores increased then the personality trait of neuroticism decreased. This means that individuals who show greater levels of negative affect tend to show lower resilience levels. This result suggests extraversion is supportive of the ability to be resilient and neuroticism is counterproductive to resilience ability. These results are consistent with previous works indicating the role of resilience combined with extraversion can increase overall wellbeing (Lu et al., 2013).
Study 2
The second study was designed to examine the relationship between resilience and inhibition extending the work of Genet and Siemer (2011). Participants completed all tasks on individual computers using Medialab software that had integrated the reaction time tests using the Medialabs DirectRTsoftware. For each data collection session, there were enough computers


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and cubicles to run 7 individuals simultaneously. To measure inhibition, participants completed different versions of the Stroop task. The hypothesis for study 2 is that those who show high levels of inhibition will also have higher resilience levels.
Method
Participants.
Participants for the second study were 82 female and 42 male MSU Denver students whose ages ranged from 18 to 56 (M= 22.47, SI) = 6.90). Ethnic makeup was 68% White, 10% African American, 40% Hispanic and 28% other (see Footnote 1). The participants were 59 freshmen, 43 sophomores, 19 juniors, and 4 seniors. Of the total number of participants 88% considered English their primary language.
Materials and Procedure.
After reading the informed consent information, participants completed some practice trials of the Stroop test and then completed the traditional and emotional Stroop tasks. The traditional Stroop task measured cognitive inhibition and the emotional Stroop task measured affective inhibition. The traditional Stroop task requires participants to state the color of the font in which a word was written rather than naming the word itself (Stroop, 1935). The task included congruent trials in which words that name colors are the same color as the font (e.g., the word yellow written out in yellow colored font) and in incongruent trials the color words were not the same color (e.g., the word yellow written out in a green color). The emotional Stroop task asked participants to name the color of the font in which the word was written when the word was associated with an emotional response (Eide, Kemp, Silberstien, Nathan, & Stough, 2002).
In the traditional Stroop task, the correct response for the incongruent task was the color of the font that the word was written in rather than the named word. The time it took participants


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to name the font color in which the word was written was recorded. The difference between reaction times from incongruent and congruent trials provided a measure of inhibitory skill. The smaller the difference in reaction time, the better able the individual was to avoid the cognitive interference that arose from the mismatch of the meaning of the word displayed and the color in which the word was written.
The emotional Stroop presented positively valenced, negatively valenced, and non-emotive words and required participants to name the color of the font in which the word was written. For example, if a participant saw the positively-valenced word brave (in red font), the negatively valenced word worried (in red font), or the non-emotive word bramble (in red font), the participant correctly responded with red. The emotional Stroop trials measured the extent to which emotional content interfered with cognitive processing by comparing the reaction time for color naming on the emotionally valenced trials against the reaction time on the non-emotive trials. The words used as stimuli for the emotional Stroop task are listed in Table 2 (Richards, French, Johnson, Naparstek, & Williams, 1992). In both tasks, inhibitory processes were measured by the time it takes to name the color of the font and compared across trial types.
The Stroop task procedures used in the current work were adapted from Cothran and Larsen, (2008). For both Stroop tasks, participants indicated the color of the font in which a word was written using the numeric keypad. To indicate the font color participants used the number 8 key which was covered with a green color code label, the number 6 key was covered with a red color code label, the number 4 key was covered with a blue color code label, and then number 2 key was covered with a yellow color code label. Trials within block did not proceed until participants indicated their response with the correctly labeled key on the numeric keypad. The neutral Stroop task included blocks of trials consisting of 60 trials per block. Participants each


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complete three 60-trial blocks. The words red, yellow, blue, and green served as stimuli. Each word was presented 15 times per font color on a black background (i.e., 60 trials per block) and presentations of the stimuli were randomized within each block. Between each block of trials, participants were given a 2 minute break. In the neutral Stroop task, there are congruent and incongruent trials. In congruent trials, the word displayed is a color name that is written in a font color that matches the color name (red in red font color). In incongruent trials, the word displayed is a color name that is written in a font color that does not match the color name (green in a font color of red). For both of these examples, the correct response is red. The time it takes participants to name the font color in which the word is written is recorded. The difference between reaction times to incongruent and congruent trials provides a measure of inhibitory skill. The smaller the difference in reaction time, the better able the individual is to avoid the cognitive interference that arises from the mismatch of the meaning of the word displayed and the color in which the word is written.
Participants then completed the emotional Stroop task in four blocks. In Block 1 participants indicated the font color of 20 negatively valenced words, in Block 2 participants indicated the font color of 20 neutral words, in Block 3 participants indicated the font color of 20 positively valenced words, and in Block 4 participants indicated the font color of 20 neutral words. All blocks were followed by a 2 minute rest period. Neutral words in Block 2 and Block 4 contained non-emotional words that had the same number of letters as the corresponding positively or negatively valenced words. The words were acquired from the work of Richards, and colleagues, (1992). The columns in Table 2 correspond to the four blocks of the emotional Stroop trials and list the stimuli presented in each trial. Within each block, each column of 20 words was presented three times (each time in a different color font); the order of presentation of


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the words within each block was randomized. Each word appeared three times and each color was presented equally across blocks.
For both types of Stroop trials participants received the following instructions Ignore the word and indicate the color of the font as quickly as possible by pressing the appropriate key on keyboard. All trials were separated by 350-ms during which a line of xs were displayed in the center of a black screen.
After completing the traditional and emotional Stroop, as in the first study, participants completed the same Connor and Davidson resiliency scale (CD-RISC; Connor & Davidson, 2003), and the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire: Brief Version (Sato, 2005). Finally, participants completed demographic questions and then read a debriefing statement after completing all tasks.
Results/Discussion
The current inhibition study predicted that individuals who show a greater ability to deploy inhibitory resources to counter interference from both emotional and neutral stimuli will also show higher levels of personal resilience compared to those who have difficulty inhibiting their responses to either type of stimuli.
In total, Study 2 included 124 valid data sets. However, those participants who did not finish a particular test were removed from analysis for that test. A paired samples t-test analysis determined there was a significant difference between reaction times for congruent words and non-congruent words on the traditional Stroop task, (/(124) = 8.13,p < .01). This finding shows that participants did have a longer reaction time to the words that were in a font color different from the color word. For example, if a participant saw the written word blue in the font color of red they took longer to enter the correct color. This finding replicates the classic Stroop effect. A


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paired samples t-test analysis indicated there was no significant difference between the reaction times for positive valence words and non-emotive words on the emotional Stoop task, (t(123)=0.93,/> = 0.356). This finding shows that participants did not take longer to react to a positively valenced word compared to a non-emotive word. In other words, participants positive affect did not impact inhibitory skill. A paired samples t-test did indicate a significant difference in reaction time for negatively valenced words and non-emotive words, (t(123) = 4.03,p< .01). This means that participants took longer to react to the negatively valenced word compared to the non-emotive word. This suggests that interference did occur, that the meaning of the negative word caused the participant to take longer to give the correct response. This interference is a result of the time it takes the mind to react to the negative word and then stop the reaction in order to respond to the question. Results for the inhibition study failed to support the hypothesis that inhibition skills have a direct positive relationship with resilience. There was no correlation between resilience and inhibition r(l 13) = .058, p = .537.
Exploratory analysis showed correlations for resilience, interference, extraversion and neuroticism, and negatively valenced words (see Table 3). Resilience and inhibition were unrelated. This finding shows that inhibition skill is not predictive of individual resilience levels. Resilience was negatively correlated to neuroticism. This finding indicates that those with higher resilience scores show lower neuroticism levels. Conversely, these results indicate that the higher the level of individual neuroticism the lower the individual resilience level. In addition, results show that extraversion and resilience were positively related. These results mean that those with higher levels of extraversion also show higher levels of resiliency. These findings are consistent with the first study and support previous works.
General Discussion


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The results of these two separate and yet similar studies suggest that reappraisal and inhibitory skills may not directly contribute to resilience. In Study 1, reappraisal instructions were ineffective preventing a test of the primary hypothesis. In Study 2, inhibition skill did not predict individual resilience levels. These current works do, however, add to recent findings that extraversion and neuroticism are linked to individual resilience. Lu and colleagues, (2013) found that resilience acts as a mediator between personality traits of extraversion and neuroticism. In addition, several previous works demonstrate that extraversion is positively related to happiness and neuroticism negatively correlated to happiness (Argyle & Lu, 1990; Cheng & Furnham, 2003; DeNeve & Cooper, 1998; Lu et al., 2013). The present work identifies extraversion as a related trait to resilience and contributes to the findings that positive emotion and extraversion may be mediated by resilience. Lu et al. (2013) found that resilience acts as a partial mediator between extraversion, positive affect and individual happiness. To explain further, extraversion as a personality trait impacts happiness through resilience (Lu et al., 2013). When present together extraversion, resilience and positive affect are predictors of increased happiness and in turn overall well-being.
The current work adds support to previous works indicating that neuroticism is related to negative affect and does not increase resilience. However in those with more negative affect and neuroticism, resilience training may prove effective in increasing overall well-being (Lu et al., 2013). Neuroticism and negative affect are predictors of lower happiness and a reduced level of well-being. The current work adds support to findings suggesting that personal resilience is an important contributor in increasing overall well-being (Lu et al., 2013). Developing resilience in those who have higher neuroticism levels also may help to improve their overall well-being.


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Perhaps by developing tools to increasing positive affect and extraversion individuals can in turn increase their personal resilience.
In the current work support for the cognitive influences inhibition or reappraisal on resilience was not found. This finding however, does not mean that cognitive processes are not contributors to overall well-being, as inhibition or reappraisal can lead to better overall positive emotion. In Study 1, the reappraisal instructions were ineffective, perhaps clear and separate reappraisal instructions should be given to each reappraisal group. In Study 2, participants responded to traditional and emotional Stroop tasks to measure inhibition. Perhaps the Stroop task is not the best way to test inhibition in relation to resilience. The extent to which cognitive skill offers increases to the personality trait of resilience remains to be seen. Future research is needed to examine whether or not cognitive skills contribute to individual levels of resilience. Because positive affect is mediated by resilience perhaps other cognitive skills can indirectly lead to increased resilience and overall well-being. Future research is also needed to determine if other cognitive functions may have a stronger influence on resilience. However support of the links between extraversion, neuroticism, and resilience warrants further research into how resilience as a mediator can lead to increases in overall well-being. Finding cognitive behavioral therapy interventions that increase extraversion and positive affect may prove useful, and in turn impact individual resilience levels. The importance of resilience to overall mental health and well-being warrants continued research on what specific mechanisms can be integrated into clinical practice to improve individual resilience levels.


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Gross, J. (1998). Antecedent- and response-focused emotion regulation: Divergent consequences for experience, expression, and physiology. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 224-237. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.74.1.224 Herrman, H., Stewart, D. E., Diaz-Granados, N., Berger, E. L., Jackson, B., & Yuen, T. (2011). What is resilience? The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry / La Revue Canadienne De Psychiatrie, 56(5), 258-265. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/883434839?accountid=14506 Ionescu, T. (2012). Exploring the nature of cognitive flexibility. New Ideas in Psychology, 30(2), 190-200. doi: 10.1016/j .newideapsych.2011.11.001 Jeronimus, B.F., Ormel, J., Aleman, A., Penninx, B.W.J.H., & Riese, H.(2013). Negative and positive life events are associated with small but lasting change in neuroticism. Psychological Medicine, 43, 2403-2415. doi:10.1017/S0033291713000159 Lovell, D. (Producer), Marion, F. (Writer), & Zeffrelli, F. (Director). (1979). The Champ
[Motion Picture], Beverly Hills, CA: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Retrieved 2014, from https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=the+champ+death+scene Lii, W., Wang, Z., Liu, Y., & Zhang, H. (2014). Resilience as a mediator between extraversion, neuroticism and happiness, PA and NA. Personality and Individual Differences, 63,
128-133. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2014.01.015 Malooly, A., Genet J., & Siemer, M. (2013). Individual differences in reappraisal effectiveness: The role of affective flexibility. Emotion, 13(2), 302-313. doi:10.1037/a0029980 McLarnon, M. J. W., & Rothstein, M. G. (2013). Development and initial validation of the workplace resilience inventory. Journal of Personnel Psychology, 12(2), 63-73.
doi: 10.1027/1866-5888/a000084


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Richards, A., French, C. C., Johnson, W., Naparstek, J., & Williams, J. (1992). Effects of mood manipulation and anxiety on performance of an emotional Stroop task. British Journal of Psychology, 53(4), 479-491. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/618290299?accountid=14506 Sato, T. (2005). The Eysenck personality questionnaire brief version: Factor structure and
reliability. The Journal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary and Applied, 139(6), 545-552. doi:10.3200/JRLP. 139.6
Schmeichel, B.J. & Tang, D. (2015). Individual differences in executive functioning and their relationship to emotional processes and responses. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 24(2), 93-98. doi 10.1177/0963721414555178 Schneider, T. R., Rench, T. A., Lyons, J. B., & Riffle, R. R. (2012). The influence of
neuroticism, extraversion and openness on stress responses. Stress and Health: Journal of the International Society for the Investigation of Stress, 28(2), 102-110. doi: 10.1002/smi .1409
Smith, B. W., Tooley, E. M., Christopher, P. J., & Kay, V. S. (2010). Resilience as the ability to bounce back from stress: A neglected personal resource? The Journal of Positive Psychology, 5(3), 166-176. doi:10.1080/17439760.2010.482186
Stroop, J. R. (1935). Studies of interference in serial verbal reactions. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 18, 643-662. doi: /10.1037/0096-3445.121.1.15 Troy, A. S., Wilhelm, F. FL, Shallcross, A. J., & Mauss, I. B. (2010). Seeing the silver lining: Cognitive reappraisal ability moderates the relationship between stress and depressive symptoms. Emotion, 10(6), 783-795. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0020262


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Watson, D., Clark, L. A., Tellegen, A. (1988). Development and validation of a brief measure of positive and negative affect: The PANAS scales. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54(6), 1063-1070. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.54.6.1063 Wu, G., Feder, A., Cohen, H., Kim, J. J., Calderon, S., Charney, D. S., & Mathe, A. A. (2013). Understanding resilience. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 7 doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2013.00010


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Table 1
Reappraisal Study Variables, Correlations, and Descriptive Statistics (N ranges from 62-67)
Variables 1
1. Resilience scores
2. Neuroticism scores -.32*
3. Extraversion scores .29*
4. Baseline sadness rating -.26*
5. Post-sadness rating -.18
M 97.35
SD 11.59
Range 25-125
a .90
*p< .05, **p< .01
2 3 4 5
-.20
48** .05 -
29** .22 .20 -
27.27 40.30 9.55 11.29
9.73 8.46 3.96 4.32
5-60 5-60 6-90 6-90
.90 .81 .87 .87
Table 2
Words used in emotional Stroop task


INVESTIGATION OF RESILIENCE, COGNITIVE PROCESSES AND PERSONALITY TRAITS
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Anxiety related words (negatively valenced) Anxiety matched words (neutral & equivalent letters) Happiness related words (positively valenced) Happiness-matched words (neutral & equivalent letters)
Weak Take Optimistic Typewriter
Worried Bramble Love Ring
Agony Verse Brave Stick
Panicky Section Successful Profession
Failure Clothes Reassured Carpenter
Nervous Picture Confident Cardboard
Helpless Interest Strength Building
Terrified Margarine Pleasure Magnetic
Painful Around Happiness Associate
Die Cup Ecstasy Grounds
Sickness Material Healthy Climate
Disease Library Homely System
Tragedy Whistle Laughter Inventor
Accident Instead Warmth Comer
Suffering Something Overjoyed Offspring
Cancer Taller Friendly Alphabet
Paralyzed Expensive Security Parallel
Despair Service Capable Measure
Distressed Understand Good Cord


INVESTIGATION OF RESILIENCE, COGNITIVE PROCESSES AND PERSONALITY TRAITS
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Coffin
Lesser
Relaxed
Lighter
Note. Adapted from Effects of mood manipulation and anxiety on performance of an emotional Stroop task. by A. Richards, C. C. French, W. Johnson, J. Naperstek, and J. Williams, 1992, British Journal of Psychology, 83, p. 479.


INVESTIGATION OF RESILIENCE, COGNITIVE PROCESSES AND PERSONALITY TRAITS
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Table 3
Inhibition Study Variables, Correlations, and Descriptive Statistics (N ranges from 112-125)
Variables 1 2 3 4 5
1. Resilience scores -
2. Neuroticism scores _ 45** -
3. Extraversion scores 40** -.23* -
4. Interference .06 -.16 .14 -
5. Negatively valenced words .54 -.13 -.06 .03 -
M 99.58 28.73 41.72 17.11 691.37
SD 11.22 11.22 10.56 47.31 84.21
Range 25-125 5-60 5-60 -152.93-122.15 508.88-891.68
a .88 .92 .82 - -
*p< .05, **p< .01


Full Text

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An Investigation of Connections between Resilience, Cognitive Processing Propensities and Personality Traits by Heidi Baldwin Kirckhoff An undergraduate thesis submitted in partial completion of the Metropolitan State University of Denver Honors Program December 2014 Dr. Pamela Ansburg Dr. Courtney Rocheleau Dr. Megan Hughes Zarzo Primary Advisor Second Reader Honors Program Director

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!"##$#%&'()*+&,-./01,231,4-&45&!/0,6,/-7/8&742-,1,./&9!47/00/0&3-:&9/!04-36,1;&1!3,10 & An Investigation of Connections between Resilience, Cognitive Processing Propensities and Personality Traits Heidi A.E. Baldwin Kirchhoff and Pamela I. Ansburg Metropolitan State University of Denver Author Note This research was supported by a 2013 14 CUR/Psi Chi Summer Research Grant Any opinions, findings, or conclusions within this work are those of the authors and not necessarily the views of the Psi Chi The International Honors Society in Psychology.

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,-./01,231,4-&45&!/0,6,/-7/ C OGNITIVE PROCESSES AND PERSONALITY TRAITS & & < & & Abstract Resilience is the ability to maintain or regain mental health in the face of hardship (e.g, Wu et al., 2013). The curre nt work reports two studies assessing whether the basic cognitive processes of reappraisal and inhibition underlie resiliency. Study 1 assess ed whether reappraisal ability increased resilience A total of 66 college students, under various reappraisal instruction conditions, viewed a negatively emotionally charged video (Malooly et al., 201 3 ) A paired t test comparing post viewing moods across the reappraisal instruction conditions showed null results ( p = .948 ), and prevented a test of the primary hypothesis. However, exploratory analyses revealed significant relationships between Resilience Extraversion and Neuroticism, and mood (correlations ranged from r = .26 to .56, p < .05). The second study test ed whether those who show strong inhibitory skills for irrelevant neutral and emotional stimuli would show high resiliency. Performance on traditional and emotional Stroop tasks indicated 126 college students' ability to inhibit interfering stimuli. Resilience failed to predict interference scores for either Stroop task ( p >.05) Resilience predicted bot h Extraversion and Neuroticism, r (115) = .40 p < .01 and r (11 2) = .4 3, p < .01 respectively. Limitations of the present work leave open the question of how basic cognitive processes influence resilience

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,-./01,231,4-&45&!/0,6,/-7/ C OGNITIVE PROCESSES AND PERSONALITY TRAITS & & = & & Investigation of Resilience, Cognitive Processes and Personality Traits Every human experiences stressful events from time to time. The personality trait of resilience enables individuals to bounce back after emotionally stressful and challenging experiences (Gross, 1998 ; Malooly, Genet, & Siemer, 2013 ; McLarnon & Rothstein, 2013 ; Smith, Tooley, Christopher & Kay, 2010; Wu et al. 2013). Resilience enhances individual s' co ping abilities and increases one's overall sense of well being. Resilience is the ability to adapt, maintain, or regain mental health in the face of hardship (Herrman et al., 2011; Lu, Wang, Liu, & Zhang, 2014). For example, imagine that an individual worked on a sales proposal for a large account to find that after a year of meetings and negotiations the deal fell thro ugh. Some individ uals would mentally reinforce feelings o f failure by ruminating over the details of the negative event These i ndividuals who reinforce negative emotions are more likely to persist in a negative emotional state and tend to have higher neuroticism levels On the other hand, resilient individuals still feel some negative emotions related to the event but would adapt more quickly after failure and regain a posit ive or neutral emotional state. These more resilient individuals tend to have higher extraversion levels and more positive affect. Because resilience contributes to mental health it is important to understand if it can be developed or increased through training The present work endeavors to test if the cognitive factors of reappraisal and inhibition p ositively relate and contribute to individual resilience levels. The personality traits of neuroticism and extraversion are both predictive of individual resilience. Neuroticism is a propensity to feel negative affect such as anxiety sorrow humiliation anger and blame ( Jeronimus, Ormel, Aleman, Penninx, & Riese, 2013 ; Lu et al., 2014 ). It is important to note that mild negative affect can increase some cognitive functions such as inhibition, while more severe negative affect can cause great difficulty i n the ability to

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,-./01,231,4-&45&!/0,6,/-7/ C OGNITIVE PROCESSES AND PERSONALITY TRAITS & & > & & inhibit a negative emotional response (Schmeichel & Tang, 2015). Neuroticism has been shown to be negatively correlated to resilience (Lu et al., 2014). In other words if one tends to experience more negative emotions then resilience is lower for this individual. On the other hand, individuals with high extraversion tend to experience more positive affect such as pleasurable social interactions, viv acity, and enthusiasm (Watson, Clark & Tellegen 1988). Positive affect increases some cognitive processes such as the ability to switch from one task to another (Schmeichel & Tang, 2015). For example, an individual with high positive affect would be better able to quickly an d competently adapt when presented with different situations. Positive affect is positively related to resilience (Cheng & Furnham, 2003; Lu et al., 2014) In other words the more positive affect an individual experiences the higher their resilience level. Cognitive Processes Personality Propensities and Resilience Cognitive flexibility is the ability to shift modify, or inhibit thought s to accomplish a goal wit hin a situation (Genet & Siemer, 2011; Maloo ly et al., 2013 ). When faced with problems, individuals who are cognitively flexible avoid getting stuck in an unproductive mental rut; and instead, generate a lternative strategies. Individuals who are less cognitively flexible are less able to inhibit or switch thoughts a nd tend to remain in the same thought pattern. The lowered ability to be cognitively flexible results in a weaker ability to generate new strategies when faced with a challenge. T hose who demonstrate resiliency to overcome life challenges and maintain over all well being show cognitive and affective flexibility (Genet & Siemer, 2011) it seems likely that flexibility is involved in resilient thinking. Cognitive flexibility involves the abilities to: 1) inhibit the intrusion of irrelevant or misleading inform ation and 2) shift the course of one's thinking to avoid fixed mental states Cognitive flexibility involves inhibiting the tendency to focus on obstacles and allows individuals to switch to more adaptive mental tactics (Genet &

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,-./01,231,4-&45&!/0,6,/-7/ C OGNITIVE PROCESSES AND PERSONALITY TRAITS & & ? & & Siemer, 2011). To explain f urther, cognitive flexibility gives individuals the ability to mentally shift from one task to a different task. For example, if a student in a classroom is asked to work on their spelling for a portion of a morning. After an hour, the teacher asks the cla ss to put away their spelling and begins a math lesson. Individuals who have better cognitive flexibility will find switching to a new task easier than those with lower cognitive flexibility skill. Affective flexibility refers to the circumstance in which the inhibitory and shifting processes are applied to emotional content. Flexible affective processing helps individuals to maintain emotional equilibrium while experiencing emotionally charged event s by avoiding negative emotions and switching to a more positive viewpoint. For example, imagine an individual received a criticism from a close friend, and begins to feel hurt by the comment. Our individual then realizes their friend is just in a bad mood and shifts from the feelings of hurt to more neutral emotions. In this instance, the individual is displaying affective flexibility. The ability to be affectively flexible suggests the ability to process emotional information in a malleable way. Because c ognitive and affective flexibility enables individuals to inhibit maladaptive responses and switch to more adaptive mental tactics, both should contribute to resilient responding (Genet & Siemer, 2011). The present work investigated the role of reappraisa l and inhibition, and how these c ognitive processes are related to resilience. Reappraisal empowers an individual to reduce the effect and significance of a situation by transform ing the impact of the negative event ( Gross, 1998; Troy, Wilhelm, Shallcross, & Mauss, 2010). In other words, cognitive reappraisal is the ability to refocus on a different thought rather than on the reactive thought When individuals can apply reappraisal processes to emotional content they can adaptively shift an emotional respon se to an event ( M alooly et al. 2013 ). In this instance, flexibility increases individual ab ility to

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,-./01,231,4-&45&!/0,6,/-7/ C OGNITIVE PROCESSES AND PERSONALITY TRAITS & & @ & & change the meaning of the incident when experiencing an emotional event. As an example of emotional reappraisal, say someone views a disturbing new s report and immediately feels a stressful emotion. Individuals who are emotionally flexible and able to reappraise are better able to quickly change their emotional response to a more neutral or positive state. Those who can show affective flexibility and reappraise emotional situatio ns are better able to recognize a negative emotional reaction and then change thoughts and therefore change their response to an event (Malooly et al., 2013 ; Tr oy et al. 2010). Malooly et al. (201 3 ) found that individual differences in the ability to reappraise an emotional situation could be accounted for by differences in cognitive and affective flexibility. The current study tests whether resilience is positively related to cognitive and/or emotional reappraisal. Inhib ition Inhibit ion is the cognitive process that involves a ffective inhibition and cognitive inhibition. Affective inhibition is the ability to stop an emotional response to a stressor and c ognitive inhibition enables indiv iduals to block out unrelated i nformation and maintain self awareness (Genet & Siemer, 2011 ). Inhib ition is a skill that enables individual s to restrain their response to an event. For example, imagine that an individual is working on an email to his/her supervisor, and another employee begins yelling in the hallway. The ability to cognitively inhibit would enable the individual to completely ignore the irrelevant outburst in the hallway while they finish an important email. This situation is an example of cognitive inhibition. To explai n further, imagine that the outburst in the hallway contains an emotionally charged comment directed towards our individual, in this case the individual would also need to prevent his/her emotional response to the comment to finish the important email. Thi s experience is an example of emotional inhibition. The ability to inhibit a reaction to an event contributes to an individual 's

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,-./01,231,4-&45&!/0,6,/-7/ C OGNITIVE PROCESSES AND PERSONALITY TRAITS & & A & & cognitive and affective flexibility (Genet & Siemer, 2011) I ndividuals who exhibit cognitive and affective flexibility are also likely to possess high levels of resilience (Genet & Siemer, 2011 ). Genet and Siemer (2011) used "task switching" problems to measure individual cognitive and affective flexibility and mea sured how these cognitive processes contribute to resilience. The method used in the Genet and Siemer (2011) study required participants to use both inhibitory and shifting processes; thus, their work did not determine the separate contributions of inhibit ion and shifting processes to predicting resiliency. Further, some of their findings suggested that inhibition is likely the stronger predictor of resiliency than is shifting skill The goal of the present work is to test whether inhibition is a predictor of resilience. Study 1 The present work investigates whether the ability to reappraise predicts individual resilience levels. Those who reappraise adverse events can shift emotional responses to more neutral ones. Study 1 tests reappraisal ability by sho wing participants an emotionally charged video while asking them to reduce t heir emotional response or to view the clip unregulated. The hypothesis for study 1 is that those with strong ability to reappraise will also show increased resilience levels. Meth od Participants In the reappraisal study, participants were 41 female and 25 male college students whose ages ranged from 1 8 to 41 ( M = 24.08, SD = 5.68). The participants we re 6 seniors, 20 juniors, 20 sophomores and 19 were freshmen. E thnic makeup was 77% W hite, 9% African American,

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,-./01,231,4-&45&!/0,6,/-7/ C OGNITIVE PROCESSES AND PERSONALITY TRAITS & & B & & 22.4% Hispanic, and 20.5% other ethnic category 1 In exchange for their time, p articip ants earned points for their Introduction to Psychology course. M aterials and Procedure Some of the materials and methods for t he current study replicate d portions of the Malooly, Genet, and Siemer (2 013 ) study In the current work, e ach participant completed the study individually on a computer in a private cubicle. For each data collection session, there were enough computers an d cubicles to run 14 individuals simultaneously. After reading the informed consent information, participants answered demographic questions and completed a baseline assessment of their current emotional state. To measure p articipants baseline emotional state they rated the extent to which emotional words such as "depressed" and "conte nt", on a 7 point Likert scale indicate d their current emotional state. A rating of 1 indicated that the word was not at all" their current emotional sta te and 7 indicated that the word fit their current emotional state a great deal (Malooly et al. 2013 ). Participants then completed The Eysenck Personality Questionnaire: Brief Version (Sato, 2005) to determine in dividual level s of neuroticism and extraversion personality traits. This neuroticism and e xtraversion measure asked participants to rate phrases on a scale of 1 ( not at all ) to 5 ( extremely ) For example the phrase "Are you rather lively?" measured extraversion and "Are you a worrier?" measured neuroticism (Sato, 2005) Participants then completed the Connor Davidson Resiliency Scale ( CD RISC; Connor & Davidson, 2003) to measure individual levels of resilience. Participants indicated how mu ch they agreed with statements such as "Having to cope with stre ss can make me stronger" on a 5 point scale. In the Connor Davidson Resiliency Scale a rating of 1 indicated that participants felt the &&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&& &&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&& & C & 9)DE$F$G)#EH&D(GIDE(*&)JJ&(EK#$F&%DI"GH&EK)E&)GGJ$(*&EI&EK($D&(EK#$F$EL8&)JJIM$#%&G)DE$F$G)#EH&EI&D(GIDE&HK)D(*& (EK#$F&N)FO%DI"#*HP&1K(&)N$J$EL&EI&D(GIDE&)JJ&(EK#$F$E$(H&EK)E&)GGJ$(*&EI&EK(&G)DE$F$G)#EH&(EK#$F&N)FO%DI"#*H&$H&MKL& EK(&G(DF(#E)%(&EIE)J&$H&%D ()E(D&EK)#&CQQRP &

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,-./01,231,4-&45&!/0,6,/-7/ C OGNITIVE PROCESSES AND PERSONALITY TRAITS & & S & & statement was not true at all and 5 indicated they fel t the statement was true nearly all the time ". After completing these measures, p articipants received information that they would be watching a short film clip and that they would receive instructions about how to view the fil m clip. Per Malooly et al. (2013 ), all participants read that they would be shown either a "view unregulated" or "decrease emotion" instruction prior to the film. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three instruction conditions; two "decrease emotion" groups and one "view unregulated" gr oup. Th e participants in the "decrease emotion" group were divided into either the "reappraisal with reg ular instructions" group or the "reappraisal with counter demand instruction" group Those in the "reappraisal with regular instructions" received instructions to view the film while trying to block their feelings abou t the film, while the "reappraisal with counter demand instructions" group received instruction to try to block their feelings but to be aware that sometimes trying to block f eelings actually resulted in the counterintuitive outcome of feeling emotions more intensely. The participants who saw the "view unregulated" cues are those considered to be in the "reactivity control group". These participants received instructions asking them to attempt to fully experience any emotions that arise while watching the film. Participants then watched a 2:44 minute film clip from the film "The Champ" ( Lovell, Marion & Zeffrelli, 1979) While they viewed the clip either the "view unregulated" or "decrease emotion" instruction was displayed on the screen. Post video a ll participants completed an 18 word post emotional state measure to indicate their mood after viewing the clip. Participa nts rated such words as "cheerful" and sad" on a scale from 1 which indicated they felt that mood very slightly or not at all to 5 which indicated they felt that mood extremely ( Malooly, personal communication, March 21, 2014 ).

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,-./01,231,4-&45&!/0,6,/-7/ C OGNITIVE PROCESSES AND PERSONALITY TRAITS & & CQ & & Finally participants complete a short emotion regulation follow up questionnaire about their experience (Malooly et al., 2013 ) This questionnaire was designed to help understand the emotion participants may have felt while watching the video. For the view unregulated" group participants indicate d how much sadness they felt during the clip and to indicate this on a 1 to 7 scale, 1 being the least emotion rating and 7 being the most emotion rating. The "view unregulated" group also indicate d what they did during the video The "decrease emotion" groups rate d on a scale from 1 t o 7 how difficult they felt "decreasing their emotions" would b e, how successful they were at "feeling less emotion" and "how much sadness did they feel during the clip The se two groups then indicate d if they received information that decre asing emotions would be hard. Finally, both groups explain ed what they did to decrease their emotions during the clip. Results/Discussion Preliminary data were screened using an instruction check item on wh ich participants indicated which viewing cue they had been asked to follow prior to viewing the video. The answer to this question was used to determine if participants understood the viewing instruction. The participants who correctly identified the viewing instructions they received wer e included in further analysis. In addition one participant was removed from the data set as the participant answered every question with a "1". This resulted in 6 6 valid participants for analysis. An i ndependent samples t test indicated no significant diffe rence in post sadness ratings between the "decrease emotion s group and the "decrease emotion s with counter demand instruction s allowing for these to be combined into one group for further analysis ( t (64) = 1.76 p = .08 ) In total the two groups included 2 2 in the "view normally" group and 44 in the "decrease emotion" group. To test if post video sadness ratings differed between groups a n

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,-./01,231,4-&45&!/0,6,/-7/ C OGNITIVE PROCESSES AND PERSONALITY TRAITS & & CC & & independent samples t test was used. The independent samples t test indicated no significan t difference in sadness ratings between the "view normally" and "decrease emotions" groups, t (64 ) = 1.76 p = .67. This result suggests that the reappraisal instructions w ere in effective The reappraisal level for the "view normally" group was about the same level as the "decrease emotions" group. Without a signifi cant reappraisal effect it was i mpossible to test whether those who have better reappraisal ability would show higher levels of resilience. H owever, exploratory analysis showed some interesting results in the correlations between resilience and the personality traits of extraversion and neuroticism The correlations between scores of resilience, extraversion and ne uroticism are in Table 1 Resilience scores were positively correlated t o extraversion; i ndividuals who report higher resilience also show ed increased extraversion. This finding makes sense as extraversion and resilience tend to share some level of positive affect. Resilience scores were negatively correlated to neuroticism. In other words, as resilience scores increase d then the personality trait of neuroticism decrease d This means that individuals who sh ow greater levels of negative affect tend to show lower resilience levels. This result suggests e xtraversion is supportive of the ability to be resilient and neuroticism is counterproductive to resilience ability. These results are consistent with previous works indicating the role of resili ence combined with extraversion can increase overall well being (Lu et al., 2013). Study 2 The second study was designed to examine the relationship between resilience and inhibition extending the work of Genet and Siemer (2011). Participants completed al l tasks on individual computers using Medialab software that had integrated the reaction time tests using the Medialab's DirectRTsoftware. For each data collection session, there were enough computers

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,-./01,231,4-&45&!/0,6,/-7/ C OGNITIVE PROCESSES AND PERSONALITY TRAITS & & C< & & and cubicles to run 7 individuals simultaneously. To measure inhibition, participants completed different versions of the Stroop task. The hypothesis for study 2 is that those who show high levels of inhibition will also have higher resilience levels. Method Participants Participants for the second study we re 82 female and 42 male MSU Denver st udents whose ages ranged from 18 to 56 ( M = 22.47 SD = 6.90 ). E thnic makeup was 68% White, 10% African American, 40% Hispa nic and 28% other (see Footnote 1) The participants were 59 freshmen 43 sophomores 19 junior s and 4 senior s Of the total number of participants 88% considered English their primary language. Materials and Procedure After reading the informed consent information, participants completed some practice trials of the Stroop test and then complete d the traditional and emotional Stroop tasks. T he t raditional Stroop task measure d cognitive inhibitio n and the emotional Stroop task measure d affective inhibition. The traditional Stroop task requires participants to state the color of the font in which a word was written rather than naming the word itself (Stroop, 1935). The task included congruent trials in which words that name colors are the same color as the font (e.g., the word yellow written out in y ellow colored font) and in incongruent trials the color words were not the same color (e.g., the word yellow written out in a green color). The emotional Stroop task asked participants to name the color of the font in which the word was written when the word was associated with an emotional re sponse (Eide, Kemp, Silberstien, Nathan, & Stough, 2002). In the traditional Stroop task, t he correct response for the incongruent task was the color of the font that the word was written in rather than the named word. The time it took participants

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,-./01,231,4-&45&!/0,6,/-7/ C OGNITIVE PROCESSES AND PERSONALITY TRAITS & & C= & & to name the font color in which the word was written was recorded. The difference between reaction times from incongruent and congruent trials provided a measure of inhibitory skill. The smaller the difference in reaction time, the better able the individual was to avoid the cognitive interference that arose from the mismatch of the meaning of the word displayed and the color in which the word was written. The emotional Stroop presented positively valenced, negatively valenced, and non emotive words and require d participants to name the color of the font in which the word was written. For example, if a participant saw the positively valenced word brave" (in red font), the negatively valenced word "worried" (in red font), or the non emotive word "bramble" (in r ed font), the participant correctly responded with "red". The emotional Stroop trials measured the extent to which emotional content interfered with cognitive processing by comparing the reaction time for color naming on the emotionally valenced trials ag ainst the reaction time on the non emotive trials. The words used as stimuli for the emotional Stro op task are listed in Table 2 (Richards, French, Johnson, Naparstek, & W illiams, 1992) In both tasks, inhibitory processes were measured by the time it takes to name the color of the font and compared across trial types. The Stroop task procedures used in the current work were adapted from Cothran and Larsen, ( 2008 ) For both Stroop t asks, participants indicate d the color of the font in which a word was written using the numeric keypad. To indicate the font color participants used the number 8 key which was covered with a g reen color code label, the number 6 key was covered with a red color code label, the number 4 key was covered with a blue color code label, and then number 2 key was covered with a yellow color code label. Trials within block did not proceed until particip ants indicated their response with the correctly labeled key on the numeric keypad The neutral Stroop task included blocks of tr ials consisting of 60 trials per block. Participants each

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,-./01,231,4-&45&!/0,6,/-7/ C OGNITIVE PROCESSES AND PERSONALITY TRAITS & & C> & & complete three 60 trial blocks. The words "red", "yellow", "blue", a nd "green" served as stimuli. Each word was presented 15 times per font color on a black background (i.e., 60 trials per block) and presentations of the stimuli were randomized within each block. Between each block of trials, participants w ere given a 2 mi nute break In the neutral Stroop task, there are congruent and incongruent trials. In congruent trials, the word displayed is a color name that is written in a font color that matches the color name ("red" in red font color). In incongruent trials, the word displa yed is a color name that is written in a font color that does not match the color name ("green" in a font color of red) For both of these examples, the correct response is "red". The time it takes participants to name the font color in which the word is written is recorded. The difference between reaction times to incongruent and congruent trials provides a measure of inhibitory skill. The smaller the difference in reaction time, the better able the individual is to avoid the cognitive interference that arises from the mismatch of the meaning of the word displayed and the color in which the word is written. P articipants then completed the emotional Stroop task in four blocks. In Block 1 participants indicated the font color of 20 negatively valenced words, in Block 2 participants indicated the font color of 20 neutral word s in Block 3 participants ind icated the font color of 20 posi tively valenced words, and in Block 4 participants indicated the font color of 20 neutral words. All blocks were followe d by a 2 minute rest period. Neutral words in Block 2 and Block 4 contain ed non emotional words that had the same number of letters as the corresponding positively or negatively valenced words. The words were acquired fr om the work of Richards, and colleag ues, (1992). The columns in Table 2 correspond to the four blocks of the emotional Stroop trials a nd list the stimuli presented in each trial. Within each blo ck, each column of 20 words was presented three times (each time in a different color font); the order of presentation of

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,-./01,231,4-&45&!/0,6,/-7/ C OGNITIVE PROCESSES AND PERSONALITY TRAITS & & C? & & the words within each block was randomized. Each word appear ed th ree times and each color was presented equal ly across blocks. For both types of Stroop trials participants rece ived the following instructions "Ignore the word and indicate the color of the font as quickly as possible by pressing the appropriate key on keyboard." All trials were separated by 350 ms during which a line of "x's" were displayed in the center of a black screen. After completing the traditional and emotional Stroop as in the first study, participants complete d the same Connor and Davidson resiliency scale (CD RISC; Connor & Davidson, 2003 ), and t he Eysenck Personality Questionnaire: Brief Version (Sato, 2005) Finally, parti cipants completed demographic questions and then read a debriefing statement after completing all tasks. Results/Discussion The current inhibition study predicted that individuals who show a greater ability to deploy inhibitory resources to counter interfe rence from both emotional and neutral stimuli will also show higher levels of personal resilience compared to those who have difficulty inhibiting their responses to either type of stimuli. In tot al S tudy 2 included 124 valid data sets. However, those participants who did not finish a particular test were removed from analysis for that test. A paired samples t tes t analysis determined there was a significant difference between reaction times for congruent words and non congrue nt words on the traditional Stroop task ( t (124) = 8.13, p < .01 ) This finding shows that participants did have a longer reaction time to the words that were in a font color different from the color word. For example, if a participant saw the written word blue in the font color of red they took longer to enter the correct color This finding replicates the classic Stroop effect A

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,-./01,231,4-&45&!/0,6,/-7/ C OGNITIVE PROCESSES AND PERSONALITY TRAITS & & C@ & & paired samples t test analysis indicated there was no significant difference between the reaction times for positive valence wo rds and non emotive words on the emotional Stoop task ( t (123) = 0 .93, p = 0 .356). This finding show s that participants did not take longer to react to a positively valenced word compared to a non emotive word. In other words, participants' positive affect did not impact inhibitory skill A paired samples t test did indicate a significant difference in reaction time for negatively valenced words and non emotive words ( t (123) = 4.03, p < .01). This means that participants took longer to react to the negative ly valenced word compared to the non emotive word. This suggests that interference did occur, that the meaning of the negative word caused the participant to take longer to give the correct response. This interference is a result of the time it takes the m ind to react to the negative word and then stop the reaction in order to respond to the question. Results for the inhibition study failed to support the hypothesis that inhibition skills have a direct positive relationship with resilience. There was no cor relation between resilience and inhibition r (113) = .058, p = .537. Exploratory analysis showed c orrelations for resilience, interference, extraversion and neuroticism, and negatively valenced words (see Table 3 ) Resilience and inhibition were unrelated. This finding shows that inhibition skill is not predictive of individual resilience levels. Resilience was negatively correlated to n euroticism This finding indicates that those with higher resilience scores show lower neuroticism levels. Conversely, these results indicate that the h igher the level of individual neuroti cism the lower the individual resilience level. In addition, results show that extraversion and resilience were positively related. These results me an that those with higher levels of extraversion also show higher levels of resiliency. These finding s are consistent with the first study and support previous works. General Discussion

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,-./01,231,4-&45&!/0,6,/-7/ C OGNITIVE PROCESSES AND PERSONALITY TRAITS & & CA & & The results of these two separate and yet similar studies suggest that reap praisal and inhibitory skills may not directly contribute to resilience. In S tudy 1, reappraisal instructions were ineffective preventing a test of the primary hypothesis. In S tudy 2, inhibition skill did not predict individual resilience levels. Thes e current works do however add to recent findings that extraversion and neuroticism are linked to individual resilience. Lu and colleagues, (2013) found that resilience acts as a mediator between personality traits of extraversion and neuroticism. In addition, s everal previous works demonstrate that extraversion is positively related to happiness and neuroticism negatively correlated to happiness (Argyle & Lu, 1990; Cheng & Furnham, 2003; DeNeve & Cooper, 1998; Lu et al., 2013). The present work identi fies extraversion as a related trait to resilience and contributes to the findings that positive emotion and extraversion may be mediated by resilience. Lu et al. (2013) found that resilience acts as a partial mediator between extraversion, positive affect and individ ual happiness To explain further, extraversion as a personality trait impacts happiness through resilience (L u et al., 2013). When present together extraversion, resilience and positive affect are predictors of increased happiness and in turn overall well being. The current work add s support to previous work s indicating that n euroticis m is related to negative affect and does not increase resilience However in those with more negative affect and neuroticism, resilience training may prove effect ive in in creasing overall well being (Lu et al., 2013) N euroti cism and negative affect are predictors of lower happiness and a re duced level of well being. The current work add s support to findings suggest ing that personal resilience is an important contributor in in creasing overall well being (Lu et al., 2013). Developing resilience in those who have higher neuroticism levels also may help to improve their overall well being.

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,-./01,231,4-&45&!/0,6,/-7/ C OGNITIVE PROCESSES AND PERSONALITY TRAITS & & CB & & Perhaps by developing tools to in creasing positive affect and extraversion individuals can in turn incr ease their personal resilience. In the current work support for the cognitive influences inhibition or reappraisal on resilience was not found. This finding however, does not mean that cognitive processes are not contributors to overall well being as inhibition or reappraisal can lead to better overall positive emotion. In S tudy 1, the reappraisal instructions were ineffective, perhaps clear and separate reappraisal instructio ns should be given to each reappraisal group. In S tudy 2, participants responded to traditiona l and emotional Stroop tasks to measure inhibition. Perhaps the Stroop task is not the best way to test inhibition in relation to resilience. The extent to which cognitive skill offers increases to the personality trait of resilience remains to be seen. Future research is needed to examine whether or not cognitive skills contribute to individual levels of resilience. Because positive affect is mediated by resilienc e perhaps other cognitive skills can indirectly lead to increased resilience and overall well being. Future research is also needed to determine if other cognitive functions may have a stronger influence on resilience. However support of the links between extraversion, neuroticism, and resilience warrants further research into how resilience as a mediator can lead to increases in overall well being. Finding cognitive behavioral therapy interventions that increase extraversion and positive affect may prove u seful, and in turn impact individual resilience levels The importance of resilience to overall mental health and well being warrants continued research on what specific mechanisms can be integrated into clinical practice to improve individual resilience l evels.

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,-./01,231,4-&45&!/0,6,/-7/ C OGNITIVE PROCESSES AND PERSONALITY TRAITS & & CS & & References Argyle, M., & Lu, L. (1990). Happiness and social skills. Personality and Individual Differences, 11, 1255 1261. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/617917746?accountid=14506 Cheng, H., & Furnham, A. (2003). Personality, self esteem, and demographic predictions of happiness and depression. Personality and Individual Differences, 34 (6), 921 942. doi:10.1016/S0191 8869(02)00078 8 Connor, K. M., & Davidson, J. R. (2003). Development of a ne w resilience scale: The Connor D avidson resilience scale (CD RISC). Depression and Anxiety, 18 (2), 76 82. doi: doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/da.10113 Cothran, D. L., & Larsen, R. (2008). Comparison of inhibition in two timed reaction tasks: The color and e motion stroop tasks. The Journal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary and Applied, 142 (4), 373 385. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.3200/JRLP.142.4.373 385 DeNeve, K. M., & Cooper, H. (1998). The happy personality: A meta analysis of 137 personality traits and subjec tive well being. Psychological Bulletin, 124 (2), 197 229. doi:10.1037/0033 2909.124.2.197 Eide, P., Kemp, A., Silberstein, R. B., Nathan, P. J., & Stough, C. (2002). Test retest reliability of the emotional Stroop task: Examining the paradox of measurement change. The Journal of Psychology, 136 514 520. Genet, J. J., & Siemer, M. (2011). Flexible control in processing affective and non affective material predicts individual differences in trait resilience. Cognition & Emotion, 25: 2 380 388. doi:10.1080/02699931.2010.491647

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,-./01,231,4-&45&!/0,6,/-7/ C OGNITIVE PROCESSES AND PERSONALITY TRAITS & &
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,-./01,231,4-&45&!/0,6,/-7/ C OGNITIVE PROCESSES AND PERSONALITY TRAITS & & << & & Watson, D., Clark, L. A., Tellegen, A. (1988). Development and validation of a brief measure o f positive and negative affect: The PANAS scales. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54 (6), 1063 1070 doi: 10.1037/0022 3514.54.6.1063 Wu, G., Feder, A., Cohen, H., Kim, J. J., Calderon, S., Charney, D. S., & MathÂŽ, A. A. (2013). Understanding resilience. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 7 doi:10.3389/fnbeh.2013.00010

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,-./01,231,4-&45&!/0,6,/-7/ C OGNITIVE PROCESSES AND PERSONALITY TRAITS & & <= & & Table 1 Reappraisal Study Variables, Correlations, and Descriptive Statistics (N ranges from 62 67) Table 2 Words used in emotional Stroop task Variables 1 2 3 4 5 1. Resilience scores 2. Neuroticism scores .32* 3. Extraversion scores .29* .20 4. Baseline sadness rating .26* .48** .05 5. Post sadness rating .18 .39** .22 .20 M 97.35 27.27 40.30 9.55 11.29 SD 11.59 9.73 8.46 3.96 4.32 Range 25 125 5 60 5 60 6 90 6 90 .90 .90 .81 .87 .87 p< .05, ** p< .01

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,-./01,231,4-&45&!/0,6,/-7/ C OGNITIVE PROCESSES AND PERSONALITY TRAITS & & <> & & Anxiety related words (negatively valenced) Anxiety matched words (neutral & equivalent letters) Happiness related words (positively valenced) Happiness matched words (neutral & equivalent letters) Weak Worried Agony Panicky Failure Nervous Helpless Terrified Painful Die Sickness Disease Tragedy Accident Suffering Cancer Paralyzed Despair Distressed Take Bramble Verse Section Clothes Picture Interest Margarine Around Cup Material Library Whistle Instead Something Taller Expensive Service Understand Optimistic Love Brave Successful Reassured Confident Strength Pleasure Happiness Ecstasy Healthy Homely Laughter Warmth Overjoyed Friendly Security Capable Good Typewriter Ring Stick Profession Carpenter Cardboard Building Magnetic Associate Grounds Climate System Inventor Corner Offspring Alphabet Parallel Measure Cord

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,-./01,231,4-&45&!/0,6,/-7/ C OGNITIVE PROCESSES AND PERSONALITY TRAITS & &
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,-./01,231,4-&45&!/0,6,/-7/ C OGNITIVE PROCESSES AND PERSONALITY TRAITS & & <@ & & Table 3 Inhibition Study Variables, Correlations, and Descriptive Statistics (N ranges from 112 125) Variables 1 2 3 4 5 1. Resilience scores 2. Neuroticism scores .46** 3. Extraversion scores .40** .23* 4. Interference .06 .16 .14 5. Negatively valenced words .54 .13 .06 .03 M 99.58 28.73 41.72 17.11 691.37 SD 11.22 11.22 10.56 47.31 84.21 Range 25 125 5 60 5 60 152.93 122.15 508.88 891.68 .88 .92 .82 p< .05, ** p< .01