Are people who are best able to implement strategies to regulate their emotional expressive behavior happier and more successful than their counterparts? Although past research has examined individual variation in knowledge of the most effective emotion regulation strategies, little is known about how individual differences in the ability to actually implement these strategies, as assessed objectively in the laboratory, is associated with external criteria. In two studies, we examined how individual variation in the ability to modify emotional expressive behavior in response to evocative stimuli is related to well-being and financial success. Study 1 showed that individuals who can best suppress their emotional reaction to an acoustic startle are happiest with their lives. Study 2 showed that individuals who can best amplify their emotional reaction to a disgust-eliciting movie are happiest with their lives and have the highest disposable income and socioeconomic status. Thus, being able to implement emotion regulation strategies in the laboratory is closely linked to well-being and financial success.
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