Action orientation is a volitional mode that promotes flexible self-regulation of emotional and motivational states; state orientation represents the conceptually opposite volitional mode that promotes fixation on (particularly negative) emotional and motivational states (Kuhl & Beckmann, 1994a). The present research investigated the link between action versus state orientation and implicit emotion regulation under demanding conditions. After inducing a demanding context, action-oriented participants displayed reduced affective priming effects of negative primes relative to stateoriented individuals (Studies 1 3). Action versus state orientation did not moderate affective priming effects of positive prime words (Studies 1 3). Effects of action versus state orientation emerged only for a limited number of trials (Study 2) and were reversed under low-demanding conditions (Study 3). These findings support the notion that implicit emotion regulation is closely linked to volitional action control. © 2011 Psychology Press.