An Online Measure of Thought Suppression

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28 Citations (Scopus)


An online thought-suppression paradigm was developed to test predictions of ironic process theory. Participants concentrated on or suppressed a particular semantic category. Semantic activation was indexed by the latency to name words from the category. In Experiments 1 and 2, an analog intrusion was introduced while participants were trying to suppress the information. Results consistent with ironic process theory were observed using words with polar opposites in Experiment 1 and words without polar opposites in Experiment 2. To determine whether these effects were dependent on the analog intrusion, Experiment 3 replicated Experiment 1 without the intrusion. Concentration generated semantic activation, but suppression exacerbated this activation. The data imply that hyperaccessibility results from efforts to suppress, whereas the processes of thought suppression identified by ironic process theory require the presence of material inconsistent with a desired cognitive state.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-431
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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