Data for "Association between working memory updating ability and cognitive reappraisal: an investigation into a modulatory role of the individual’s sex"
These data are linked to the published paper with the same title (DOI: 10.1002/pchj.628). One important and particularly adaptive emotion regulation strategy concerns cognitive reappraisal (CR). Previous studies focused on sex differences in the frequency of use and ability to use this strategy, and their association with executive functioning. However, behavioral studies examining sex differences in the strength of the association between CR use and ability on one hand, and executive functions on the other, are largely lacking. Such sex differences may inform the design of cognitive interventions directed at enhancing CR use and ability. The present study focused on working memory updating (WMU), a key component of executive functioning. A sample of 62 male and 63 female adult students completed a questionnaire measuring the frequency of using CR, a task measuring ability to use CR to diminish emotional responses to negative visual stimuli, and a 2-back WMU task. Regression analyses revealed no sex difference in frequency of habitual CR use, and no association between this use and WMU capacity. However, of primary interest, for CR ability there was a significant sex × WMU interaction, reflecting a significant positive association between WMU and ability to apply CR for the women, but not for the men. The interpretation of the latter sex-specific association is speculated upon in the discussion section of the target article, but it suggests that cognitive interventions that aim to enhance executive functioning in general, and WMU in particular, might have stronger benefits on the ability to use CR in women than men. The SPSS data file contains, for each participant, the pre-processed outcome score for the questionnaire and tasks. Based on these scores and as described in the target article, hierarchical regression analyses were performed to assess the predictive value of the participant’s sex, WMU capacity, and their interaction, with as criterion CR use or CR ability. An additional regression analysis, which was not the main focus of the study, used self-reported frequency of use of expressive suppression as criterion. The exact meaning of each column is described under “Variable View” --> “Label”. Raw data are available upon request.