Setting free the bears: escape from thought suppression.

  title={Setting free the bears: escape from thought suppression.},
  author={Daniel M. Wegner},
  journal={The American psychologist},
  volume={66 8},
  • D. Wegner
  • Published 1 November 2011
  • Psychology
  • The American psychologist
A person who is asked to think aloud while trying not to think about a white bear will typically mention the bear once a minute. So how can people suppress unwanted thoughts? This article examines a series of indirect thought suppression techniques and therapies that have been explored for their efficacy as remedies for unwanted thoughts of all kinds and that offer some potential as means for effective suppression. The strategies that have some promise include focused distraction, stress and… 
Self-distancing as a Mechanism for Processing Negative Emotional Experiences
Human beings share the motivation to analyze and understand their negative emotions in hopes of achieving resolution and ridding themselves of the negative feelings. However, reflecting on such
False Memories for an Analogue Trauma: Does Thought Suppression Help or Hinder Memory Accuracy?
Summary In the current study, we investigated whether suppression can produce an amplified memory for a traumatic experience. Participants viewed a distressing film depicting a multi-fatality car
Thought suppression in the context of the normative window model of prejudice
The following study presents a novel investigation of the moderating role of social norms in the suppression of stereotype-related thoughts and the subsequent rebound effect, hypothesizing that
What Are People’s Lay Theories About Mind Wandering and How Do Those Beliefs Affect Them?
Many of the thoughts that pass through our minds are unrelated to our current activity or environment. The mind simply wanders, often spontaneously and without intention. Over the last couple of
If you don’t let it in, you don’t have to get it out: Thought preemption as a method to control unwanted thoughts
To attain goals, people must proactively prevent interferences and react to interferences once they occur. Whereas most research focuses on how people deal with external interferences, here we
An alternative to thought suppression?
  • R. Boice
  • Psychology
    The American psychologist
  • 2012
The present author discusses the use of imagination and guided imagery as an alternative to forced thought suppression.


Polluting the stream of consciousness: The effect of thought suppression on the mind's environment
When a person tries to suppress a thought, environmental features are often used as distracters. This research examined whether such distracters later become reminders of the unwanted thought when
Paradoxical effects of thought suppression.
It is suggested that attempted thought suppression has paradoxical effects as a self-control strategy, perhaps even producing the very obsession or preoccupation that it is directed against.
The Role of Thought Suppression in the Bonding of Thought and Mood
The idea that thought suppression creates a unique bond between the suppressed item and one's mood state, such that the reactivation of one leads to the reinstatement of the other, was examined. In
A comparison of the effects of thought suppression, distraction and concentration.
Chronic thought suppression.
A self-report measure of thought suppression that was inversely correlated with repression as assessed by the Repression-Sensitization Scale, and so taps a trait that is quite unlike repression as traditionally conceived.
Enhancing Thought Suppression with Hypnosis
The proposition that hypnosis facilitates thought suppression is supported, as the obstacle of cognitive load could be bypassed using hypnosis to facilitate successful thought suppression.
Depression and the Ironic Effects of Thought Suppression: Therapeutic Strategies for Improving Mental Control
Research indicates that depressed individuals are especially likely to engage in thought suppression in an attempt to achieve mental control over the thoughts that threaten their emotional