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The derived generalization of thought suppression

Hooper, Nic and Saunders, Jo and McHugh, Louise (2010) The derived generalization of thought suppression. Learning and Behavior, 38 (2). pp. 160-168.

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Abstract

Thought suppression appears to be a relatively ineffective and even counter-productive strategy for dealing with unwanted thoughts. However, the psychological processes responsible for unsuccessful suppression are still underspecified. One process that may be implicated is derived stimulus relations, which may underlie the formation of unintentional relations that act to hamper suppression attempts. To test this prediction, participants were trained and tested for the formation of three derived equivalence relations using a match-to-sample procedure. Subsequently, they were instructed to suppress all thoughts of a particular target word that was a member of one of the three relations and were also allowed to selectively remove words that appeared on a computer screen in front of them by pressing the space bar. Results showed, as predicted, that participants not only removed the to-be-suppressed stimulus, but also removed words in derived relations with that stimulus, thus showing transformation of suppression/interference functions via derived equivalence. The theoretical implications of this demonstration, including its potential as a model for a key psychological process involved in unsuccessful thought suppression, are discussed.

Item type: Article
ID code: 41481
Keywords: thought suppression, unwanted thoughts, Psychology, Behavioral Neuroscience, Experimental and Cognitive Psychology, Cognitive Neuroscience
Subjects: Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > Psychology
Department: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (HaSS) > School of Psychological Science and Health > Psychology
Related URLs:
    Depositing user: Pure Administrator
    Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2012 12:59
    Last modified: 05 Sep 2014 18:07
    URI: http://strathprints.strath.ac.uk/id/eprint/41481

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