(1985). Cioffi and Holloway, 1993; Wegner, Shortt, Blake, and Page, 1990). Compared to those who had not used suppression there was evidence for unwanted thoughts being immediately enhanced during suppression and, furthermore, a higher frequency of target thoughts during the second stage, dubbed the rebound effect (Wegner, 1989). This difference in coping style may account for the disparities within the literature. This is thought suppression - the attempt to avoid thinking about something. Knowledge retrieval and frequency maps. Thought suppression is a common feature of problems such as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) where individuals attempt to suppress intrusive thoughts. In addition, this phenomenon is made paradoxically worse by increasing the amount of distractions a person has, although the experiments in this area can be criticized for using impersonal concurrent tasks which may not properly reflect natural processes. The bad news is that thought suppression doesn't work, especially when we are under cognitive load, such as … The second process is conscious and scans for distracters. An experimental investigation of thought suppression. Attempts at thought suppression occur regularly in daily life but are especially frequent in individuals suffering from psychopathological conditions which are often associated with high levels of distressing thoughts. The irony of thought suppression, then, is that actively trying to manage our own minds can sometimes do more harm than good. The results of these studies are not encouraging in as much as they have demonstrated that trying to suppress impersonal and, on the face of it, personal thoughts is ineffective as the frequency of that thought increases during suppression and after it. Thought suppression is the deliberate attempt to not think about negative thoughts while expressive suppression involves attempts to not express behaviors that reflect internal negative emotions (e.g., facial expression).5 It has consistently been observed that levels of suppression predict the probability of developing PTSD and the severity of symptomology of PTSD in a range of trauma, … Memories out of order: Thought suppression and the disassembly of remembered experience. This means that one is aware that a particular feeling, thought, or want has made way and one is making a deliberate effort to not dwell on it―one, by not thinking about it (internally) and two, by not acting on it (externally). Geraerts, E., Merckelbach, H., Jelicic, M., & Smeets, E. (2006). White bears and other unwanted thoughts: Suppression, obsession, and the psychology of mentalcontrol. Homebound older adults are a population of elders experiencing poor health and high levels of depression and anxiety. Wegner, D. M. (1994). Wegner, D. M., & Erber, R. (1992). Long term consequences of suppression of intrusive anxious thoughts and repressive coping. Over the next decade, Wegner developed his theory of "ironic processes" to explain why it's so hard to tamp down unwanted thoughts. Intrusive thoughts (and thought suppression) are also features of other clinical conditions such as PTSD and depression. Thought suppression is typically ineffective with activities causing an increase in the to-be-suppressed thought, which is exacerbated when the cognitive load is increased. Early work on thought suppression Thought suppression commonly refers to the act of deliberately trying to rid the mind of unwanted thoughts (Wegner, 1989). However, this may be explained by a consideration of individual differences. Suppression is a common approach to unwanted thoughts, worriers, doubts, or urges. Firstly, typical thought suppression may not involve simple targets like coloured animals but socially more complex and personal thoughts. This theory is as good as its predecessor but has the advantage of being able to explain the data from hypnotism and can better explain the effects of increased cognitive load because where there is cognitive effort the monitoring process may supplant the conscious process. The explanation of ironic processes during thought suppression is that a person’s mind simultaneously engages in two distinct processes. W… Paradoxical effects of thought suppression. Wegner’s ironic processes model has been applied to understanding the development and persistence of mood, anxiety, and other difficulties. Thought suppression thus seems to entail a state of knowing and not knowing at once. Setting free the bears: Escape from thought suppression. However, when told they were going to meet such an individual those in the suppression condition sat significantly further away from the seat the ‘skinhead’ had evidently occupied moments earlier (by virtue of his clothes being present). Further experiments have documented similar findings (e.g. Evidence from Bowers and Woody (1996) is supportive of the finding that hypnotized individuals produce no paradoxical effects. Wegner, D. M., Shortt, J. W., Blake, A. W., & Page, M. S. (1990). Pain. © 2021 Psychology Tools. In Study 1 (N= 87) and Study 2 (N = 114), higher and lower reactant undergraduates were instructed either to suppress or to express their own intrusive thoughts during a stream-of-consciousness writing task. He was arguably most famous for his experiments on thought suppression, in which people were unable to keep from thinking of a white bear. The result is that you have even more of the thoughts that you are trying … the most vexing problem of thought suppression: the self-refer-ent quality of the plan to suppress. 10. This effect has been replicated with different targets (Lavy & Van den Hout, 1990) and even implausible targets like “green rabbit” (Clark, Ball, & Pape, 1991). That is, successful suppression may involve less distraction. Wegner has often suggested that rebounds following thought suppression may contribute to obsessions, dieting failures, and difficulties stopping behaviors like smoking. The thought-suppression paradigm provides an answer to that question precisely, so does a different research line that has been known as the cognitive theory of obsession. Brown, G. M. (1990). This effect is stronger for thoughts that have emotional content. The studies are unable to find this effect for emotional thoughts, in hypnotized individuals, and when one distracter is used. Thought suppression and obsession-compulsion. To this end, participants were given cognitively demanding concurrent tasks and the results showed a paradoxical higher frequency of target thoughts than controls (Wegner & Erber, 1992; Wegner, Erber & Zanakos, 1993). This information handout explores thought suppression and the intrusiveness of thoughts. Wegner, D. M. (1989). To resolve this some studies have changed the target thought from a personally irrelevant to relevant one. Evidence from Brown (1990) that showed participants were very sensitive to frequency information promoted Clarke, Ball and Pape (1991) to obtain participants’ aposterio estimates of the number of intrusive target thoughts and found the same pattern of paradoxical results. Wegner, D. M., Schnider, D. J., Carter, S. It is also related to work on memory inhibition. This is the ironic process theory.In theory, one of the processes occurs when a person deliberately tries to suppress an image or memory from his or her mind. Lavy, E. H., & Van den Hout, M. (1990). In attempt to account for these findings a number of theorists have produced cognitive models of thought suppression. Thought suppression is most powerfully explained by a demonstration. Therefore, although there is good laboratory evidence for the poor effectiveness of thought suppression confidently projecting such findings onto naturalistic behaviours is conceivably problematic. On the other hand, thought suppression has been claimed to possess memory-undermining qualities. Although thought suppression is a popular form of mental control, research has indicated that it can be counterproductive, helping assure the very state of mind one had hoped to avoid. Thought suppression induces intrusions. 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