The Effects of Suppressing Unwanted Thoughts and Replacement Strategy

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  • 望まない思考の抑制と代替思考の効果
  • ノゾマナイ シコウ ノ ヨクセイ ト ダイタイ シコウ ノ コウカ
  • 望まない思考の抑制と代替思考の効果

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Studies of the paradoxical effects of thought suppression have reported that suppressing unpleasant thoughts paradoxically increases intrusions and negative affect towards the target thoughts. The present study investigated the effects of suppressing everyday events on intrusions, affective reactions, and cognitive appraisals. The experiments examined the effectiveness of a replacement strategy (focusing attention on some replacement thoughts) for preventing paradoxical effects. In Study 1, participants were asked to suppress a past irritating event. An increase in thought intrusions relative to control group results was observed only among the suppression-only group with no replacement thoughts, whereas the 3 groups with replacement thoughts showed no signs of paradoxical effects. In Study 2, the content of the replacement thoughts was systematically varied, and the effectiveness of the replacement thoughts examined both during and after the suppression of a past depressing event. The positive replacement thought group exhibited a significant reduction in paradoxical effects in terms of both actual frequency and self-reported frequency of thought intrusions. However, the negative replacement thought group showed no reduction in thought intrusions, and reported levels of negative affect as high as those reported by the suppression-only group. An increase in thoughts after the suppression period (the delayed rebound effect) due to the use of replacement thoughts was not observed. Thus, a replacement thought strategy seems to be useful in preventing paradoxical effects and promoting effective suppression. However, the effectiveness of this strategy is contingent on the content of the replacement thoughts.



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