Expressive Suppression of Negative and Positive Emotions in Russia and Azerbaijan



Expressive suppression may have negative consequences when used as an emotional regulation strategy. However, the extent of these consequences is very different in strongly individualist and collectivist cultures, as studies comparing the USA and China have revealed. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of expressive suppression in Russia and Azerbaijan where the levels of individualism/ collectivism are comparable and moderate. The subjects (N = 111, mean age 20 years, females, 59 Russians and 52 Azerbaijani) were induced with emotional states (joy, neutral, sadness) using validated video clips and were randomly assigned to the normal viewing or the expressive suppression condition, replicating the classical experiment of J. Gross. We found that suppression of joy: 1) did not affect the subjective intensity of joy in both groups, but was associated with increase of background negative emotions in Russians; 2) was associated with reduced activity of cheek muscles in both groups and with increased activity of forehead muscles in Russians; 3) did not have any significant effects on sympathetic nervous system activity. The suppression of sadness: 1) did not affect the subjective intensity of sadness in both groups, but was associated with increased in background positive emotions in Russians; 2) was associated with reduced activity of forehead muscles in Russians, but not in Azerbaijani; 3) did not have any significant effects on sympathetic nervous system activity. The findings suggest that, unlike the USA, in Russia and Azerbaijan expressive suppression is a typical emotional regulation strategy, which explains the absence of sympathetic activation.

General Information

Keywords: expressive suppression, joy, sadness, J. Gross, Russia, Azerbaijan

Journal rubric: Empirical Research

Article type: scientific article


Funding. The study was supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, project № 16-06-00363 «Culture values and emotion display rules».

Acknowledgements. The authors are grateful to A.A. Sergeev, PhD student of the Faculty of Psychology, Moscow State University, and to Z.Z. Shukyurov, graduate student of the Moscow State University Baku branch, for their assistance in experimental data collection.

For citation: Pankratova A.A., Osin E.N., Lebedev V.V. Expressive Suppression of Negative and Positive Emotions in Russia and Azerbaijan. Kul'turno-istoricheskaya psikhologiya = Cultural-Historical Psychology, 2019. Vol. 15, no. 3, pp. 60–70. DOI: 10.17759/chp.2019150307. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Alina A. Pankratova, PhD in Psychology, Senior Research Associate, Department of Behavioral Genetics, Faculty of Psychology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Evgeny N. Osin, PhD in Psychology, Associate Professor, Deputy Head of the International Laboratory of Positive Psychology of Personality and Motivation, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Vyacheslav V. Lebedev, Educational Process Laboratory Engineer, Faculty of Psychology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia, e-mail:



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