Kimura, H., University of Tokyo, Japan
A number of studies have reported that intentional suppression (ironically) leads to intrusions of the thought. Although the phenomenon known as thought suppression has been shown to have serious deleterious effects in various areas, little has been known about the prevention of the effect. The present study aims to test the assumption that an anticipation of the intrusion during suppression can reduce the paradoxical effects of thought suppression.49 participants were randomly assigned to suppression only group, intrusion-anticipation-suppression-group, or non-suppressing control group. In anticipation-suppression, participants were told in advance that intentional thought suppression might lead to intrusion. All groups were asked to read a 2-minute story, and were instructed to count the number of times they thought about the story through next 3 days. White cards were used for them to make a check every time they thought of the story. The results show that suppression only group reported both higher level of thought intrusion and higher stress level compared to control or anticipation-suppression group. Most importantly, anticipation-suppression group showed no significant difference in number of intrusions and level of stress from the ones of control group. Thus, it can be concluded that an knowledge of paradoxical effects of thought suppression can prevent its effects.