Suppressing thoughts about chocolate
Johnston L, Bulik CM, Anstiss V
Department of Psychology,
University of Canterbury,
New Zealand.
Int J Eat Disord 1999 Jul; 26(1):21-7


OBJECTIVE: Thought suppression frequently results in subsequent hyperaccessibility of the suppressed thoughts. This study investigated whether this effect transfers to behavior. Does suppressing thoughts result in a subsequent increase in the performance of behaviors related to those thoughts? METHODS: Twenty chocolate cravers and 22 noncravers were instructed to suppress chocolate-related thoughts in an articulated thoughts task or they were given no specific instructions. Participants then completed a computer-based task which yielded chocolate rewards. RESULTS: Both cravers and noncravers could suppress chocolate-related thoughts when instructed to do so. Both groups of participants showed greater performance, and hence earned more chocolate, in the suppression than control condition (p < .05). DISCUSSION: Behavioral control may follow many of the same ironic pathways traced by mental control.

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