emotion regulation, customer service, simulation, training


Display rules are used by organizations to define appropriate behaviors and expressions while interacting with others in the workplace. Emotional labor is a function of the effort required to adhere to these display rules and has been associated with negative outcomes such as stress and burnout which can lead to higher levels of turnover and health care costs for the organization. In addition, evidence suggests that emotional labor may come at a cognitive cost as well. Hence, reducing the amount of emotional labor should be beneficial to both employees and organizations alike. The current study used a customer service simulation to investigate the effects of emotion regulation training on cognitive, affective, and performance outcomes. Furthermore, personality display rule congruence was proposed as a moderator. Specifically, I compared the effects of training participants to use deep acting or surface acting strategies. Deep acting involves cognitively reappraising situations so that one genuinely feels the appropriate emotion whereas surface acting simply involves modifying the outward display of one's emotions. I expected deep acting to improve interpersonal performance through an affective route and to improve cognitive task performance through a reduction in emotional labor. Seventy-three participants were randomly assigned to one of the two training conditions. Performance was assessed during an interactive customer service simulation. Training participants to use deep acting strategies improved their positive mood, reduced their emotional labor, and increased their cognitive task performance. Emotional labor was negatively associated with cognitive task performance whereas positive mood was positively related to interpersonal performance. Finally, the effects of training on emotional labor, mood, and cognitive performance differed depending on the degree to which participants' personality was congruent with the display rules given to them. However, contrary to expectations, training condition had a stronger effect on negative mood (reduced it), emotional labor (reduced it), and cognitive performance (increased it) the more congruent participants' personalities were to the display rules given. These findings have implications for both employee selection and training.


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Graduation Date



Smith-Jentsch, Kimberly


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Sciences



Degree Program









Release Date

September 2008

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)

Included in

Psychology Commons