Thought Suppression Research Methods: Paradigms, Theories, Methodological Concerns

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Abstract

It is hard to provide an unequivocal answer to the question of whether or not thought suppression is effective. Two thought suppression paradigms - the “white bear” paradigm and the think/no-think paradigm - give mixed results. Generally, “white bear” experiments indicate that thought suppression is counterproductive, while experiments in the think/no-think paradigm suggest that it is possible to effectively suppress a thought. There are also alternative methods used to study thought suppression, for instance the directed forgetting paradigm or the Stroop task. In the article, I describe the research methods used to explore thought suppression efficacy. I focus on the “white bear” and the think/no-think paradigms and discuss theories proposed to explain the results obtained. I also consider the internal and external validity of the methods used.

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Studies in Logic, Grammar and Rhetoric

The Journal of University of Bialystok

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